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MADISON — Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen announced that Wissam Mehdi made his initial appearance today in Dane County Circuit Court on one count of theft of sales tax proceeds and one count of tobacco products tax evasion.
The court set cash bond in the amount of $10,000 and ordered as conditions of bond that he not leave the state without court approval and that he turn in his passport. The matter is set for a status conference on November 21, 2011, at 1:30 in Dane County Circuit Court.
According to the complaint, which was filed in 2006, Mehdi operated several businesses throughout southern Wisconsin, including Dane County, which sold cigarettes and other tobacco products. From October 1, 2002, through December 31, 2002, Mehdi retained sales tax revenue for his Dane County location in the amount of $11,663 dollars.
Further, the Wisconsin Department of Revenue concluded that in October, 2002, Mehdi should have provided $28,997.35 in sales tax receipts to the Department of Revenue from operations at all 11 stores. In addition, the Department of Revenue investigation revealed that the defendant sold tobacco products for which neither the excise tax nor use tax were remitted to the state.
Theft of sales tax proceeds in an amount in excess of $2,500 is a felony offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 15 years and a fine not to exceed $10,000. Tobacco products tax evasion is a felony that carries a term of imprisonment of not less than 90 days nor more than two years and a fine of not less than $1,000 nor more than $5,000.
A criminal complaint is a document accusing a person of a violation of criminal law. A defendant enjoys a presumption of innocence. The prosecution must prove its allegations at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Department of Revenue investigated this case. Assistant Attorney General Donald V. Latorraca represents the State.
A copy of the criminal complaint is available at the following link: