News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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May 15, 2014

Excise officers cite 15 businesses, arrest alcohol trainer

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 to 25 each to businesses or employees without providing any actual training.

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

Real Hacienda (RR84-04476), 2750 S. Third Street, was cited in the investigation for four counts of retailer/dealer certification Requirement, four counts for alcohol server criteria, one count no employee permit and one count employee record required.

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.

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