Aircraft owner pleads guilty to tax evasion

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

NASHVILLE -- The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to Wednesday’s guilty plea of Robert Johnston to tax evasion, a Class E felony.

Circuit Court Judge Forrest Durard, Jr. accepted Johnston’s guilty plea to one count of tax evasion. Judge Durard placed Johnston on one and a half years of probation and suspended his sentencing until December 21, 2018. A Marshall County Grand Jury previously indicted Johnston for tax evasion after he filed a false document with the Department when he registered his airplane.

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

The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney Robert Carter’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 percent of total state revenue. During the 2016 fiscal year, it collected $13.5 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $2.6 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. To learn more about the Department, visit