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Bootlegging Tax Evasion Charges Dismissed

After 18 months of investigation, the State Attorneys Office agreed to dismiss 70 counts of bootlegging and tax evasion charges against the CEO of a liquor distribution company in Jacksonville, Florida. Mitch Stone was hired by C.J. Eiras to defend against the liquor related charges after he was arrested on a warrant and jailed under a 2.25 Million dollar bond. After securing his release Stone went to work analyzing the evidence and researching the law and issues pertaining to the case. Numerous meetings were conducted with the Florida Department of Alcohol Beverage and Tobacco agents and the Assistant State Attorney assigned to prosecute the case. Stone pointed out the physical evidence and factual information supported the defense that no law violation had been committed by Eiras or anyone. In fact, the reason for the suspicion stemmed from over 60 drums of liquor that had been stored for years at the Liquor Group's licensed and bonded warehouse.

In 2012, an unrelated civil court order required Eiras to remove the drums from the warehouse. Eiras had to figure out a legal way to remove the drums in order to abide by the court's ruling because he could not sell, bottle, destroy or remove the liquor from the bonded warehouse. Ultimately, Eiras figured out the only legal way to comform to that ruling was to send the drums on a 30 day roundtrip transport to be delivered back to the same warehouse. When he did that ABT obtained a warrant for his arrest assuming his intent was to sell the untaxed liquor.

In fact, the drums had been stored for over 5 years at that warehouse. They originated as evidence in a federal branding lawsuit that had settled years before. In the more than five years, Eiras could not bottle or sell the liquor because it was not potable and bottlers required several thousand cases of liquor to be bottled on any particular order. These drums did not contain enough liquor for such an order. That meant the liquor was not taxable since it could never be sold. Moreover, Eiras knew it would be an environmental law violation to dispose of it so it sat in the warehouse for years.

ABT lodged the charges agaisnt Eiras under suspicion that he was transporting the untaxed liquor for sale. The State Attorneys Office was going to file charges when Stone presented the prosecutor with evidence and legal analysis demonstrating that no law violation existed that could be prosecuted. In the end, the State Attorneys Office agreed with Stone that all charges should be dropped and filed a DN notice declaring the case over for Eiras. Stone was very pleased he could produce favorable results for a client who was indeed actually innocent.

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