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Former Johnson City Businessman Arrested for Tax Evasion and Theft

Friday, September 14, 2018 | 03:12pm

JONESBOROUGH - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Mark Jason Byrd, former owner of Byrd’s Specialty Firearms, for tax evasion, falsification of a tax return, and theft. Byrd, 44, surrendered to Department of Revenue Special Agents at the Washington County Detention Center on Friday. Bond was set at $10,000.

On September 11, 2018, the Washington County Grand Jury indicted Byrd on one Class E felony count of falsification of a tax return, one Class C felony count of theft of property over $10,000, and one Class E felony count of tax evasion. The indictments allege Byrd evaded sales tax due the state by filing fraudulent sales tax returns.

“Most businesses in Tennessee remit the tax dollars they collect from customers,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said.  “This indictment should serve as a warning to those that believe they can get away with tax fraud.  Our Department remains committed to prosecuting tax evaders to ensure a level playing field for all businesses.”

If convicted, Byrd could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of tax evasion, and a maximum six years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $10,000 for the theft charge.

The Department is pursuing this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Ken Baldwin’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. To learn more about the Department, visit www.tn.gov/revenue.

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