Crossville business owner arrested for tax evasion

CROSSVILLE – The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the indictment and arrest of Edith Benson Arnold, owner of Mega-Bytes Internet Café and Lounge in Crossville. Revenue special agents arrested Benson, 67, yesterday.  Bond was set at $7,500.

On February 22, 2022, the Cumberland County Grand Jury indicted Benson on one Class C felony count of theft over $10,000, and one Class E felony of tax evasion. The indictments allege Benson underreported taxable sales and failed to remit additional sales tax collected from her customers.

“Investigations, such as this one, should warn retailers that failing to properly remit all the sales tax monies they collect is a crime,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “The taxes collected from customers are property of the state and local governments at all times. Customers have a right to know that the tax they pay will be remitted to the state and used for 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 fined 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’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% of total state revenue.  During the 2021 fiscal year, 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.

Michelle Price is the managing editor of the Upper Cumberland Business Journal and can be reached via email. Send an email.

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