Tennessee Lawmaker Convicted on Tax Charge

     (CN) — A jury on Monday found Tennessee State Rep. Joe Armstrong guilty of filing a false tax form, a felony conviction that will disqualify him from the November ballot.
     Prosecutors said Armstrong, D-Knoxville, did not disclose on his 2008 federal income tax returns that he made more than $300,000 from investments in state cigarette tax stamps before the Legislature passed a tax increase.
     He sold the stamps for a profit, but didn’t report that profit on his tax return, prosecutors alleged.
     Armstrong was acquitted, however, on related conspiracy and tax evasion charges.
     Eastern Tennessee U.S. Attorney Nancy Harr announced the conviction Monday afternoon.
     Armstrong will be sentenced on Nov. 30 in Knoxville Federal Court. He faces a maximum of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
     A spokesman for the secretary of state’s office told local news outlets that the felony conviction disqualifies Armstrong from seeking re-election. The state Democratic Party has until Sept. 29 to nominate a replacement candidate for the November election.
     Armstrong’s attorney Gregory Isaacs said in a statement that Armstrong “is evaluating all of his available options at this time.”

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