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Special Investigations News Release

For Immediate Release: Nov. 15, 2012

President of Putnam County Business Arrested for Sales Tax Evasion and Theft

Nashville, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to today's arrest of the president of Hard's, Inc., d/b/a Cookeville BP, on charges of sales tax evasion and theft. Rajesh K. Patel, age 45, was arrested this morning by Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue.

On November 5, 2012, Rajesh Patel was indicted by a Putnam County Grand Jury on multiple Class E felony counts of sales tax evasion in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 67-1-1440(g) and one Class B felony count of theft of property over $60,000 in violation of Tenn. Code Ann. Section 39-14-103. The indictments charge Patel with willfully attempting to evade or defeat sales tax totaling $68,728.25 during the period November 2006 through November 2008. Patel was the president and secretary of Hard's Inc. d/b/a Cookeville BP during the period. On November 7, 2012, Special Agents of the Tennessee Department of Revenue arrested him at his home located in Cookeville, Tennessee.

"Tennessee's tax structure depends on taxpayers voluntarily complying with the laws," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "Taxpayers who collect but intentionally do not remit sales tax, breach the public's trust and violate the criminal laws of the State. This case underscores our commitment to rigorous and fair administration of Tennessee's tax laws."

If convicted, Patel could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of attempted sales tax evasion and a maximum of thirty years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $25,000 for theft of property.

This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with District Attorney General Randy York'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).

In addition to collecting state taxes, over $2.0 billion of local sales and business taxes were collected by the department for local governments during the 2012 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.

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