The Tennessee Department of Revenue issued a press release late Friday announcing an investigation into unpaid taxes by a former business owner that resulted in a grand jury indictment last week.
The press release reads: “The Tennessee Department of Revenue’s Special Investigations Section conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Edith (Wuaneta) Arnold, (also known as the name of Edith Benson), owner of the Mega-Bytes Internet Café and Lounge in Crossville (The business was located just off Peavine Rd. on Confederate Rd. between Crossville and Fairfield Glade.)
“Revenue Special Agents arrested Benson, 67, on Thursday. Bail was set at $7,500.
“On February 22, 2022, the Cumberland County Grand Jury indicted Benson with a Class C felony for theft over $10,000 and a Class E felony for tax evasion.
“The indictments allege that Benson underreported taxable sales and failed to remit additional sales tax collected from his customers.
“’Investigations, such as this one, should warn retailers that failing to properly remit all the sales taxes they collect is a crime,’ said Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano. “Taxes collected from customers are at all times the property of state and local governments. Customers have the right to know that the tax they pay will be returned to the state and used for the public good of all Tennesseans.
“If convicted, Benson could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the State Penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each Class E felony, and a maximum of six years and a fine of up to $10,000 for the Class C felony.
“The Department is pursuing this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Bryant Dunaway’s office. Citizens who suspect violations of Tennessee tax laws should call the toll-free Tax Fraud Hotline 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 these laws.
“The department collects about 87% of total state revenue. In fiscal year 2021, it collected $18.4 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $3.7 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.
“To learn more about the department, visit www.tn.gov/revenue.”