DaveCo Owners Indicted For Theft, Tax Violations

CALL7 Investigators Obtain Copy Of 52-Count Indictment That Alleges Racketeering

A Denver grand jury indicted the owners of the Thornton liquor store that bills itself the largest in the world, charging the owners with racketeering, theft and tax violations, CALL7 Investigators have learned.

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

"DaveCo Liquors, by and through the Sawaged brother, 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 2009, state Liquor Enforcement Division investigators allege the family members who own DaveCo Liquors in Thornton and Davidson Liquors in Highlands Ranch commingled ownership in violation of the state law that allows only one store per licensee, records show.

The division also alleged that DaveCo liquors paid $2.6 million in cash payments to several area liquor distributors, and the majority of the payments were in $9,900 increments, the records say.

The owner of DaveCo referred calls to his attorney Craig Truman, who declined comment.

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