ORANGEBURG, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina funeral home owner was arrested Friday on a charge of operating without a retail license and tax evasion.
The South Carolina Department of Revenue said Robert Bethea III, 66, the owner of Bethea Funeral Home in Orangeburg, attempted to evade the payment of individual income tax and sales taxes from 2011 to 2019 for about $98,934, WIS-TV reported.
Bethea purposefully avoided payment of his taxes by withdrawing $278,548 from his bank accounts and putting that money “out of the goverment’s reach”, according to arrest warrants. Bethea admitted to agents that he withdrew the money to avoid payment of a levy.
Since August 2018, Bethea continued to operate his funeral home without a proper license despite being told on several occasions about the process and after receiving multiple violations. Bethea’s business performed 38 funerals after his retail license was revoked.
If convicted, Bethea faces a $200 fine and/or 30 days in jail for the charge of operating without a license and a sentence of up to five years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000 for the charge of attempted tax evasion.
Bethea is being held in the Orangeburg County Detention Center pending a bond hearing. It was unknown if he has an attorney who could comment on his behalf.