Unicoi County Man Arrested for Tax Evasion

Friday, February 09, 2024 | 08:48am

ERWIN, Tenn.- The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Phillip Dean Persinger for tax evasion and theft. Persinger was arrested at his residence. Bond was set at $5,000.

On January 29, 2024, a Unicoi County Grand Jury indicted Persinger on one felony count of tax evasion and one felony count of theft over $2,500. The indictment alleges Persinger provided false and fraudulent information to the Unicoi County Clerk’s Office regarding his registration of a houseboat.

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

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

The department is pursuing this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Steven R. Finney’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 around 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2023 fiscal year, it collected nearly $22 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $4.7 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.