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17 arrested in South Carolina on charges of evading state income taxes

SC Department of Revenue says defendants live mostly in coastal areas but also in Richland, Greenville, and Darlington counties.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Agents with the South Carolina Department of Revenue (SCDOR) announced the department has arrested 17 individuals from throughout the state on charges of evading state income taxes. 

In separate cases, the individuals face multiple counts of tax evasion after investigations that began in 2011 and ended in 2018.

According to SCDOR arrest warrants, when added together, the earnings of the defendants totaled more than $7.8 million. The amount of South Carolina Income Taxes evaded by the defendants in the same time period totaled $367,656. The individuals filed documents with their employer to evade or materially reduce Income Tax withholdings from their pay. Most of the individuals failed to timely file Income Tax returns. Two who filed returns filed false tax documents to claim excessive deductions or losses.

If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 per count. 

The individuals charged include:

  • Bryant Thomas Landers, 36, of Georgetown, charged with evading $32,346 in state Income Tax from 2014 – 2018 (five counts); 
  • Christopher McCutchen, 44, of Charleston, charged with evading $16,331 in state Income Tax from 2014 – 2018 (five counts); 
  • Derryck Thornley Vanish, 46, of Goose Creek, charged with evading $34,553 in state Income Tax from 2015 – 2019 (five counts);
  • Earnest Eaddy, 56, of Bonneau, charged with evading $19,003 in state Income Tax for 2013 and 2015 – 2018 (five counts);
  • Justin Lawshe, 41, of Andrews, charged with evading $36,481 in state Income Tax from 2012 – 2018 (seven counts); 
  • Michael Crummey, 56, of North Charleston, charged with evading $19,671 in state Income Tax from 2013 – 2018 (six counts); 
  • Michael Hess, 48, of North Charleston, charged with evading $22,446 in state Income Tax from 2015 – 2018 (four counts); 
  • Richard Allen Tuten, 47, of Moncks Corner, charged with evading $31,215 in state Income Tax from 2015 – 2018 (four counts). Tuten filed all of his tax returns. However, he reported $506,603 in fictitious deductions on his returns in attempts to evade state Income Tax;  
  • Roswell Mccall, 48, of Moncks Corner, charged with evading $18,599 in state Income Tax from 2013 – 2015 and from 2017 – 2018 (five counts); 
  • Ryan Sweatman, 40, of Ladson, charged with evading $17,117 in state Income Tax from 2016 – 2018 (three counts); 
  • Timothy Flynn, 35, of Darlington, charged with evading $23,437 in state Income Tax from 2014 – 2016 and in 2018 (four counts); 
  • Jessica Renee Clark, 35, of Summerville, charged with evading $17,108 in state Income Tax from 2011 – 2018 (eight counts); 
  • Rodney E. Teasley, 52, of Goose Creek, charged with evading $15,863 in state Income Tax for 2013 and 2017 – 2018 (three counts); 
  • Sylvanna Varnetta Ford, 37, of Summerville, charged with evading $18,089 in state Income Tax from 2015 – 2018 (four counts). Ford filed a 2018 tax return reporting $88,336 in fictitious business losses. She failed to timely file returns for 2015, 2016, and 2017;  
  • Christopher Pondexter, 32, of Summerville, charged with evading $13,473 in state Income Tax from 2012 – 2018 (seven counts); 
  • Raintree Brown, 54, of Columbia, charged with evading $14,471 in state Income Tax from 2014 – 2018 (five counts); 
  • Michelle Thomas, 44, of Simpsonville, charged with evading $17,453 in state Income Tax from 2014 – 2018 (five counts). 

One other arrest is pending.

After arrest, the defendants -- depending on their location -- were taken to the Hill-Finklea Detention Center (Berkeley), the Sheriff Al Cannon Detention Center (Charleston), the W. Glenn Campbell Detention Center (Darlington), the Sheriff L.C. Knight Detention Center (Dorchester), the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center (Richland), or the Spartanburg County Detention Center

The SCDOR is committed to the fair administration of tax laws. By taking enforcement action against noncompliant taxpayers, the Department seeks to prevent unfairly increasing the tax burden on those who do comply.  

If you suspect or know of anyone or a business that has committed a state tax crime, such as tax evasion or tax fraud, contact SCDOR Criminal Investigation and submit a Tax Violation Complaint Form (CID- 27) to criminalinvestigation@dor.sc.gov or mail it to SCDOR, CID, PO Box 125, Columbia, SC 29214-0930.