For Immediate Release: July 5, 2013
Former Memphis Liquor Store Owner Pleads Guilty
and is Sentenced on Theft Charges
Memphis, Tenn. - The Special Investigations Section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation that led to the July 2, 2013, sentencing of Justin L. Foster (age 37) for Theft of Property over $10,000, a Class C Felony. Foster was the owner of Midtown Wine and Spirits located at 2541 Poplar Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee. Foster was indicted November 18, 2010, on charges of Sales Tax Fraud and Theft of Property over $60,000.
Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Paula Skahan accepted Foster's guilty plea to the theft charge and he was sentenced to six years in jail. Judge Skahan granted Foster's request of Judicial Diversion and he was placed on probation for the six year period. Under the terms of the diversion, Foster must repay the State of Tennessee Department of Revenue restitution totaling $55,371. In addition to restitution, Foster must be under supervised probation for the six years, maintain gainful employment, perform forty hours community service per year, and submit to random and frequent drug screens. Violation of any terms of the probation may be sufficient cause for revocation of the agreement.
"This investigation serves as a reminder that retailers are not entitled to use or keep sales tax monies," said Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. "Sales tax revenues collected by retailers are never property of the retailer. At all times these sales tax collections are property of our state and local governments and must be remitted to the state as required by law. Consumers who pay the tax deserve to know that the money will be used by the state and local governments for the common good."
This case was pursued criminally by the department in cooperation with Shelby County District Attorney Amy P. Weirich's office. Commissioner Roberts expressed his appreciation for the excellent cooperation the department has enjoyed with General Weirich. Citizens who suspect violations of the Tennessee revenue laws should call the toll-free tax fraud hot line at (800) FRAUDTX (372-8389).
In addition to collecting state taxes, $2.0 billion of local sales and business taxes were collected by the department for local governments during the 2012 fiscal year. Besides collecting taxes, the department enforces the revenue laws fairly and impartially in an effort to encourage voluntary taxpayer compliance. The department also apportions revenue collections for distribution to the various state funds and local units of government. To learn more about the department, log on to www.TN.gov/revenue.