Excise Crackdown

Published 05/15 2014 10:23AM

Updated 05/15 2014 06:53PM

Indiana State Excise Police officers cited 15 alcohol businesses on 115 charges after a three-month investigation into fraudulent alcohol training certificates.

Excise officers also arrested Matthew B. Miller, 37, of Indianapolis, on two preliminary charges each of forgery (a Class C felony) and theft (a Class D felony) after they received information that he offered to sell alcohol-training certificates to employees at businesses in Terre Haute without requiring they attend any training.

State law mandates that clerks, bartenders, waiters and managers at liquor stores, bars, restaurants and clubs successfully complete a two-hour alcohol-training program. Employees selling alcohol at grocery stores and drug stores do not need to have permits or complete any training.

Miller is one of the state’s approved certified trainers for in-person server training. Miller’s scheme involved selling certificates for $20-25 each to businesses or employees without providing any actual training. Beginning in 2013, the training could be done online through the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission’s website instead of attending a class in person.

Now, 15 businesses face a total of 115 charges related to Miller’s scheme to sell fraudulent certificates. In addition to Miller’s criminal charges in Vigo County Superior Court 6, he also faces 58 counts of administrative charges for violating the terms of his server trainer license with the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission.

“The server training program offered by the State Excise Police is designed to ensure that servers understand the importance of recognizing the symptoms of intoxication,” Superintendent Matt Strittmatter said. “This is an important public safety concern.”

“By selling fraudulent certifications, Miller compromised the safety of Indiana citizens. Moreover, he violated the public trust for which we have zero tolerance.”

As the enforcement division of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission, the primary mission of the Indiana State Excise Police is to promote public safety by enforcing Indiana’s Alcoholic Beverage Code. While excise officers have the authority to enforce any state law, they focus primarily on alcohol, tobacco and related laws.

All respondents are to be presumed not liable until, and unless the plaintiff can prove by preponderance of the evidence the respondent’s liability in an administrative hearing. All criminal defendants are to be presumed innocent until, and unless, proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

(Source: Indiana State Excise Police press release)

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