HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — Federal officials have seized $1 million from a northwestern Indiana liquor store whose owners are accused of selling alcohol to Illinois liquor stores to evade the state’s significantly higher alcohol taxes.
Federal charges allege that the owners of Columbia Liquor in Hammond “devised a scheme to defraud or obtain money by false or fraudulent pretenses” by buying liquor from three Indiana distributors and selling it for cash to liquor stores across Chicago’s south suburbs in Illinois.
The Northwest Indiana Times reports that the U.S. attorney’s office is now pursuing a forfeiture case in the United States District Court Northern District of Indiana.
The Wine and Spirits Distributors of Illinois trade association says cross-state bootlegging costs Illinois nearly $30 million in lost tax revenue annually.