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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Owner Of Monterey Wine Cellar Pleaded Guilty To Tax Evasion

SAN JOSE – Brenda Jo Kibbee pleaded guilty in federal court in San Jose, California, yesterday to one count of failing to pay an excise tax on wine with an intent to defraud the United States, United States Attorney Melinda Haag announced.

Kibbee, 43, of Salinas, California, was indicted on September 26, 2012, with 11 counts of failing to pay an excise tax on wine. As alleged in the plea agreement, Kibbee owned and operated Monterey Wine Services, a bonded wine cellar located in Monterey County, California. For each of the reporting periods between August 1, 2008, and December 31, 2008, Monterey Wine Services had taxable removals of wine from its bonded wine cellar, which resulted in a wine excise tax due and owing to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). Kibbee failed to pay the excise tax due to TTB with intent to defraud the United States. Per the terms of the plea agreement, the parties agree that the tax loss resulting from Kibbee’s misconduct is at least $877,126.94.

Kibbee’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 17, 2014, before The Honorable D. Lowell Jensen, United States District Court Judge, in San Jose. The maximum statutory penalty for each count, in violation of 26 U.S.C, § 5661(a), is five years and a fine of $250,000 or 2 times the gross gain or loss, plus restitution of $877,126.94. However, any sentence will be imposed by the court only after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.

Matthew J. Kluge, Trial Attorney with the United States Department of Justice, and Thomas Moore, Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of California, are prosecuting the case. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation.

(Kibbee indictment )