Former grill owner indicted for evading sales tax

A Cocke County Grand Jury has indicted the former manager of the Hideaway Grill on Old Knoxville Highway in Newport for allegedly evading sales-tax collections.

Melvin James Tucker, 49, Highway 321, Newport, is charged with theft over $2,500 and nine counts sales-tax fraud following an investigation by the Tennessee Department of Revenue. The presentment alleges Tucker collected $2,944.50 in sales tax from July 2018 until March 2019 but did not remit it to the state.

The special investigations section of the Tennessee Department of Revenue conducted the investigation, which led to the indictment and arrest. Revenue special agents arrested Tucker Thursday with assistance from the Cocke County Sheriff’s Office. He is free on a $50,000 bond.

If convicted, Tucker could be sentenced to a maximum of two years in state prison and fined up to $3,000 for each count of tax evasion. He could be sentenced to a maximum of 12 years in the state penitentiary and fined up to $5,000 on the theft charge.

A former Newport alderwoman, who in September was arrested on shoplifting charges, now has been indicted on a charge she violated her probation. Kathy Holt, 55, Ratcliff Street, Newport, allegedly went through the self-checkout line at Walmart but did not scan all of the items before bagging them. Holt also allegedly concealed several items in her purse she had not paid for.

In May 2015 Holt, who operated the Pit Stop Market in Newport, pleaded guilty to three felony charges in Cocke County Circuit Court – two counts of money laundering as well as conspiracy to commit money laundering. Circuit Court Judge Rex Henry Ogle ordered Holt to serve eight years on probation.

Now, a Cocke County grand jury has indicted Holt for violating her probation with the recent shoplifting charge.

James Messer, a 47-year-old man who lives on Tom Treece Road in Hamblen County, was indicted for rape, sexual battery by an authority figure, statutory rape by an authority figure and aggravated statutory rape. The incident was investigated by Newport Detective Jason Ramsey, and involved alleged minor 13 or older in July 2018.

Matthew Jordan Dailey, 23 Jaybird Road, Newport, was indicted for kidnapping, failure to obey a traffic control device, evading arrest by motor vehicle, reckless endangerment and driving on a revoked license.

The charges stem from a June incident in which Dailey was pursued on Interstate 40 eastbound, traveling recklessly and at speeds of 100 to 115 MPH, forcing other vehicles from the roadway. As the stolen auto exited at the Wilton Springs Road exit, it went out of control, rolled through a grassy area and came to arrest in a creek to rest in a creek.

A passenger, Thomas Edwards, 23, Henderson Road, Hartford, reported his leg may have been broken in the crash. The passenger said he had asked Dailey to let him out of the vehicle but the defendant refused to stop.

Randy William Schoolcraft, 33, Cottonwood Way, Newport, was indicted for evading arrest, reckless endangerment with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a dangerous felony, possession of drug paraphernalia and traffic violations stemming from a pursuit by Deputy James Cupp on June 5.

The panel indicted Matt Douglas, 40, Industrial Road, Newport, for assault and robbery in an Aug. 15 incident involving Billy Boykin of Beechwood Drive in Newport.

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