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Greene County businessman arrested for tax evasion, theft

The owner of Bill's Repair Shop is facing 37 felony counts.
Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

GREENE COUNTY, Tenn. — On Tuesday, a Greene County Grand Jury indicted an area businessman on 36 felony counts of tax evasion and one felony count of property theft over $10,000. 

The indictments allege Billy Wayne Wise, 56, failed to remit sales tax due for Bill’s Repair Shop. 

Tennessee Department of Revenue special agents and Tennessee Highway Patrol investigators arrested Wise, 56, at his home. Bond was set at $100,000. 

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Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said the indictment is part of a larger effort to prevent tax fraud in Tennessee. According to Gerregano, arrests like this one are meant to promote "voluntary taxpayer compliance."

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

If convicted, Wise could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $3,000 for each count of sales tax evasion. He could also be sentenced to a maximum of four years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $10,000 for theft. 

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For all 37 counts, that means Wise is facing up to 76 years in the state penitentiary and up to $118,000 in fines. 

The Department of Revenue collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2018 fiscal year, it collected $14.5 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.8 billion in taxes and fees for local governments.

The Department of Revenue is pursuing Wise's criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Dan Armstrong's office.