Oak Island Businesswoman Guilty of Tax Evasion

Date:  April 10, 2007

RALEIGH – An Oak Island businesswoman pleaded guilty Monday in Wake County Superior Court to felony tax charges filed by the North Carolina Department of Revenue.

Brenda Gail Smith, 61, of 6235 E. Oak Island Drive, Oak Island pleaded guilty on April 9, 2007 to two counts of attempting to evade or defeat state and Brunswick County sales taxes.

Superior Court Judge Ronald L. Stephens sentenced Smith to a six-month minimum, eight-month maximum prison term. The sentence was suspended and Smith was placed on supervised probation for 24 months. She was also ordered to serve one day in jail, perform 100 hours of community service and pay a $1,000 criminal fine. The judge also ordered that a $50,000 cash bond Smith posted when she was arrested be turned over the Department of Revenue as payment towards any outstanding restitution.

The state’s evidence showed that Smith, as president of McBride-Smith, Inc., doing business as The Beverage Barn, charged and collected North Carolina and Brunswick County sales taxes from her customers from 2001 through 2005. Smith reported approximately $5,000 in retail sales for the Beverage Barn, but the corporate income tax returns for the same period reported sales exceeding $700,000.

The charges against Smith resulted from an investigation by an auditor with the Department’s Wilmington Examination Office and a special agent with the Department’s Criminal Investigations Division in Raleigh.

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