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Liquor wholesaler indicted on defraud charges

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Posted at 8:10 PM, May 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-25 19:51:02-04

Liquor wholesaler Republic National Distribution Company, LLC, and three of its employees have been indicted on charges related to a $9 million scheme to smuggle alcohol from Maryland to New York.

Eugene Gerzsenyi, 52, Jason Lockerman, 38, and Lisa Robbins, 55, allegedly moved liquor from Maryland to New York for retail sale. In Maryland, the state tax rate for liquor is about $1.50 per gallon, whereas in New York, the tax is $7.44 per gallon. RNDC was not registered as a wholesaler in New York -- it was only registered in Maryland.

As a result, RNDC filled liquor orders for New York retailers, who picked up and transported the product to New York. Then it was sold to customers without the state taxes there being paid. The employees did this from at least June 2009 through June 2012.

The RNDC released a statement in response to the action taken by U.S. Attorney of Maryland. The statement said in part, 

"RNDC is extremely disappointed to learn that the U.S. Attorney for the District of Maryland has chosen to take this action," stated Tom Cole, President and CEO of RNDC. "We have worked diligently with the U.S. Attorney's office since first learning about the investigation in 2012, and have seen no evidence to support their version of the facts. RNDC emphatically denies these allegations and looks forward to our day in court where we will demonstrate that the prosecutors' accusations are based on erroneous assumptions, unsubstantiated theories, and represent an unprecedented attempt at federal government overreach."

If found guilty, the company and each defendant would have to pay about $250,000 in fines. The defendants would also face a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud conspiracy. 

No court appearances have been scheduled as of yet.