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Former Greeneville Businessman Sentenced to Prison on Tax Charges

Tuesday, August 28, 2018 | 09:02am

GREENEVILLE - Jerry Reginald Burkes, former owner of Greeneville tobacco shop Preeminent Skate Specialty, was sentenced last week to 18 years in prison.

Greene County Criminal Court Judge Alex Pearson also ordered him to pay $80,000 in fines related to his 2016 guilty verdict of 12 Class E felony counts of tax evasion, one Class B felony count of money laundering, one Class B felony count of theft over $60,000, and one Class B felony count of forgery over $60,000.

Burkes had previously challenged his guilty verdict, but the Tennessee Criminal Court of Appeals upheld the decision. Burkes had sought to have his conviction overturned, but his case was sent back to a lower court for sentencing.

“It is a felony for retailers to collect sales tax from the public and then fail to remit it to the state,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “It is a breach of the public trust and the Department of Revenue will never quit pursuing criminal sanctions to provide accountability for these actions.”

The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney General Dan Armstrong’s 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, as well as the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2018 fiscal year, it collected $14.5 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.8 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.

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