Revenue Investigation Leads to Surrender of Sevierville Businessman on Sales Tax Evasion Charges

Thursday, May 31, 2007 | 07:00pm

SEVIERVILLE, Tenn. - Benjamin Franklin Darnell, Jr., 41, president of Golden Eagle, Inc., 201 Forks of the River Parkway, Sevierville, Tenn., surrendered to special agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue yesterday after the Sevier County grand jury returned an eight-count indictment relating to evasion of sales tax due the State of Tennessee. The investigation was conducted by the Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue. Bond was set at $25,000.


“The majority of businesses pay appropriate taxes,” said Revenue Commissioner Reagan Farr. “This case serves as a warning to others who think they can get away with tax fraud in Tennessee. We will continue to pursue criminal activity and prosecute tax evaders to maintain fairness in our tax structure for Tennesseans.”

The Sevier County Grand Jury indicted Darnell on May 22, 2007 on eight counts of evading sales tax. Each count charges Darnell with unlawfully and knowingly evading and defeating sales tax collected due to the State of Tennessee by filing false sales tax returns on behalf of Golden Eagle, Inc. The indictments charge Darnell with failing to report taxable sales totaling $285,819 and failing to remit collected sales tax totaling $28,717. Evading tax is in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g), a Class E felony.

These cases are pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with local district attorneys general. Citizens who suspect violations of the Tennessee revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws established by the legislature and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 92 percent of total state tax revenue. During the 2005-2006 fiscal year, the department collected $10.3 billion in state taxes and fees. In addition to collecting state taxes, $1.8 billion of local sales tax was collected by the department for local governments during the 2005-2006 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to

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