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Salinas wine cellar owner pleads guilty to federal tax evasion.

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Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2013 10:57 am

Staffers over at the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau might be toasting right about now.

They lost out on at least $877,000 in excise taxes they'll likely be getting back, now that Brenda Jo Kibbe has pleaded guilty in federal court to failing to pay those taxes on wine she sold out of her Salinas wine cellar, Monterey Wine Services, in 2008.

Kibbe entered a guilty plea Tuesday to one count of failing to pay an excise tax on wine with an intent to defraud the United States. She was indicted on September 26, 2012, with 11 counts of failing to pay an excise tax.

The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the IRS.

Kibbe will be sentenced on April 17 U.S. District Court Judge D. Lowell Jensen in San Jose. The maximum penalty for each count is five years and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution of the unpaid $877,000-plus tax dollars.


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