September 25, 2017 – Wausau, Wisconsin
Working off anonymous tip, Revenue Agents for the State of Wisconsin began an investigation at the Mountain Lanes Family Fun Center in May 2017. In 1960, Mountain Lanes opened as a 24-lane bowling alley and has been a fixture in Wausau. The original owners began leasing the premises and business to Kaileah Koehler in June 2016, whose plans for Mountain Lanes included adding more family oriented attractions to the center. On September 25th, 2017, the Marathon County District Attorney filed charges against Kaileah Koehler for refilling intoxicating liquor bottles.
In June of 2017, Alcohol and Tobacco Special Agents for the Wisconsin Department of Revue confiscated 33 open liquor bottles, which were suspected of being refilled with a brand of liquor other than that which was represented on the label. Six of the bottles seized were labeled as Captain Morgan Rum, tests reveled that the contents were a much less expensive brand, Ron Diaz Rum.
After being presented with the evidence of brand substitution, Kaileah Koehler surrendered the liquor license of Mountain Lanes Family Fun Center in July 2017 and closed the entertainment center while prosecutors continued to investigate the contents of the other bottles seized. During interrogation, Ms. Koehler admitted to investigators that she also refilled authentic Patron Tequila Bottles with the less expensive brand Camerena Tequila and authentic Grey Goose Vodka Bottles with Pinnacle vodka.
Based on the evidence seized and the admissions in interrogation, the Marathon County District Attorney filed charges based on Wisconsin Law of being in possession of refilled intoxicating liquor. The preliminary charges filed against the 31-year-old Kaileah Koehler carry a penalty of up to $1000 in fines and or a one-year prison term. An October 5, 2017 court date has been set for Ms. Koehler.
In the Press Release announcing the investigation and of and charges against Ms. Koehler, the State of Wisconsin, Department of Revenue stated, “The Department of Revenue’s Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit, which investigated this case, works to ensure that all retailers comply with the law and are operating fairly. The Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement Unit also works to ensure public safety, and to protect the integrity and quality of the alcohol being sold in Wisconsin. Labeling and purchasing requirements, as well as refilling prohibitions, are in place to provide Wisconsin consumers with the correct information on the brand, flavor, and alcohol content of the alcohol beverages offered for sale in this state.”
By refilling liquor bottles and substituting liquor brands, Kaileah Koehler, not only violated the liquor control laws of the State of Wisconsin, she also violated the trust between consumer and retailer, a cornerstone of purchase. Ms. Koehler displayed premium liquor bottles, charged premium prices and served cheaper alternatives to her customers.
Although consumers count on the investigative authorities to uncover this common con game perpetuated on consumers, Alcohol Control Commissions, as in this case rely on anonymous tips to point them towards these unscrupulous businesses. SafeProof.org has received numerous reports of Counterfeit, Tainted, Fake Alcohol, Brand Substitutions, Refilling Liquor Bottles and diluted liquor, which have been forwarded to authorities around the world regarding unsafe practices pertaining to alcohol sales.
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