Kingsport Business Owner Surrenders on Sales Tax Evasion Charges

Wednesday, February 19, 2014 | 06:53pm

Kingsport, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and subsequent surrender of James William McConnell, 78, of Meadowview, Va.

Tuesday, McConnell surrendered to Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue at the Sullivan County sheriff's office in Blountville. Bond was set at $200,000.

On February 11, the Sullivan County Grand Jury indicted McConnell on 34 Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion. The indictments charge that McConnell, owner of Bill McConnell Auto Painting and Body Works, willfully attempted to evade paying $30,813.21 in sales tax by filing false tax returns from January 2009 through October 2011.

"The majority of businesses pay appropriate taxes," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "I hope this case will serve 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 assure fairness in our tax structure for Tennesseans."

If convicted, McConnell could be sentenced up to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined $3,000 for each count of sales tax evasion.

Prosecution of this criminal case was pursued by the Department in cooperation with District Attorney General Barry P. Staubus' office. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee's 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 and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department of Revenue collects approximately 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2013 fiscal year, the Department collected $11.7 billion in state taxes and fees and over $2.2 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, log on to