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Shelby County Man, Montana LLC Member Indicted on Tax Charges

Tuesday, August 25, 2020 | 02:57pm

LEBANON, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Christopher DeStefanis. DeStefanis, 69, turned himself in yesterday at the Wilson County Jail in Lebanon.  Bond was set at $2,500.

On August 11, 2020, a Wilson County Grand Jury indicted DeStefanis, on two Class E felony counts of tax evasion for the falsification of a three-day removal affidavit. DeStefanis is a Shelby County resident, who allegedly falsified two three-day removal affidavits for vehicle purchases in Wilson County.

Tennessee law requires the payment of sales tax on vehicle purchases, unless the owner signs a sworn affidavit that he or she will remove the vehicle from the state within three days of purchase.

“The Department of Revenue has always been committed to making sure Tennessee’s tax laws and procedures are applied uniformly to ensure fairness,” said Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano. “We can never allow individuals engaged in fraudulent tax activity to not be held accountable."

“We want Tennesseans to know that individuals cannot evade sales tax by falsifying registration documents and failing to register vehicles as the law requires,” Special Investigations Director Tommy Sneed said. “Tennessee citizens who engage in this type of activity will be held accountable.”

If convicted, DeStefanis 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.

The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Tommy Thompson’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 and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The Department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2019 fiscal year, it collected $15.3 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $3 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, visit www.tn.gov/revenue.

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