9 Chicago liquor store owners face bootlegging charges

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Liquor Control Commission says bootlegging charges have been filed against the owners of seven Chicago liquor stores for illegally importing alcohol from Indiana.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan charged nine defendants Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court with sales tax evasion over $100,000, a Class 1 felony punishable by up to four to 15 years in prison. She alleges that between July 2010 and December 2012, the defendants defrauded the state out of $3.5 million in sales taxes.

The commission says authorities initially learned of the alleged bootlegging through a tip from an Illinois retailer. It says an investigation began in June 2013 after the commission alerted Illinois Department of Revenue investigators of the suspected bootlegging. Revenue investigators executed search warrants on the seven liquor stores.

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This story has been corrected to show nine people were indicted, not 10.

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