Sevier County Business Owner Pleads Guilty To Tax Evasion

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 | 9:54am

SEVIERVILLE - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to Monday’s guilty plea of Gary Wayne Stipes to tax evasion, a class E felony.

Judge Ben Hooper accepted Stipes’ guilty plea to one count of tax evasion. He was ordered to pay restitution of $38,636.03 to the state. Judge Hooper also placed Stipes on two years of probation and granted him judicial diversion. Stipes is the owner of Speed of Light Tanning in Sevierville. A Sevier County grand jury previously indicted Stipes on tax evasion.

“Our state’s tax structure depends on voluntary taxpayer compliance to remit money collected from customers,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said. “Taxpayers who fail to remit collected taxes violate the public trust and the criminal laws of Tennessee. This guilty plea highlights our rigorous and impartial administration of the state’s tax laws.”

The Department pursued this criminal case in cooperation with District Attorney General Jimmy Dunn’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