Manchester Man Enters No Contest Plea To Tax Evasion

tax evasionThe Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to last week’s no contest plea of John Constantine to seven counts of sales tax evasion. Constantine, 47, is the managing member of a Manchester business.
Coffee County Circuit Court Judge Walter Kurtz accepted Constantine’s plea and sentenced him to four years of supervised probation. Constantine was also ordered to pay restitution of $42,743.10.
In January 2015, a Coffee County Grand Jury indicted Constantine on six Class E felony counts of tax evasion, one count of theft over $10,000 and one count of filing a false franchise and excise tax return. The indictments charged that between December 2012 and June 2013, Constantine collected sales tax from customers at his business and failed to remit all collected sales tax as required by law.
“This investigation will serve as a reminder that retailers are not entitled to use or keep sales tax monies,” Revenue Commissioner Richard Roberts said. “When sales tax revenues are collected by a retailer, they are at all times property of the state or local government, and they must be remitted to the state.”
The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Craig Northcott and his staff. 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.