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Sevier County Businessman Arrested for Theft, Failing to Remit Collected Sales Tax and Tax Evasion

Tuesday, January 08, 2019 | 09:28am

SEVIERVILLE - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Wyatt Wrege Bunch, owner of Jayell Ranch in Sevierville. Bunch, 37, surrendered to Revenue special agents at the Sevier County Jail. Bond was set at $25,000.

On January 3, 2019, the Sevier County Grand Jury indicted Bunch on one Class A felony count of theft over $250,000, 48 Class E felony counts of failing to remit collected sales tax, and one Class E felony of tax evasion. The indictments allege Bunch failed to remit collected sales tax to the State of Tennessee as required by law.

“The Department of Revenue promotes voluntary taxpayer compliance by educating taxpayers, aggressively pursuing criminal sanctions and demanding accountability when taxpayers engage in fraudulent activity," Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. "This indictment underscores the Department's ongoing efforts to enforce Tennessee's tax laws."

If convicted, Bunch could be sentenced to a maximum of 25 years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $50,000 for the Class A felony and a maximum of two years and fined up to $3,000 for each Class E felony.

The Department is pursuing this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Jimmy Dunn’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.