City Closes Daveco Liquors For 1 Week

Store Workers Accused Of Selling Alcohol To A Minor

The city of Thornton has closed Daveco Liquors for a week for selling liquor to a minor, according to the Denver Post.

The newspaper said the store will reopen Aug. 18.

The owners of the liquor store were indicted earlier this summer on charges of racketeering, theft and tax violations, the CALL7 Investigators reported.

Hani D. Sawaged, Ghassan D. Sawaged and Bassam Dahoud Sawaged were all named in various charges of the 52-count indictment, filed in June in Denver District Court.

"DaveCo Liquors, by and through the Sawaged brothers, understated the monthly sales tax liability due to both the City of Thornton and the State of Colorado," the indictment says.

The indictment alleges the brothers accepted millions of dollars of liquor returns in 2007 and 2008 during non-business hours that the indictment called "fictitious products," and filed tax returns reflecting those fictitious products. The owners also paid distributors more than $2.8 million in cash for products, the indictment says.

The City of Thornton and the state lost more than $450,000 in sales tax revenue over the 15-month period, according to a news release from the Denver District Attorney's office and the indictment.

In February, Davidsons Liquors was closed for a week, as part of a settlement with the Colorado Department of Revenue over an investigation into its ownership.

Davidsons agreed to a 21-day closure -- with 14 days suspended -- and paid $25,000 in costs of the revenue investigation to settle claims the owner had an interest in more than one liquor store, which is prohibited under state law. The owner, Issam Sawaged, also agreed not to have an ownership in any other liquor stores, the stipulation says.

CALL7 Investigators broke the story in 2009 of the state's investigation into Davidsons and DaveCo liquors.

State Liquor Enforcement Division investigators allege the family members who own DaveCo Liquors in Thornton and Davidsons Liquors in Highlands Ranch commingled ownership in violation of the state law that allow only one store per licensee, records show.

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