Bin Luo, proprietor of a Queens, New York liquor store that was busted late last year for buying low-taxed alcohol in Cecil County for resale in high-tax New York, has pleaded guilty, according to a plea agreement. The maximum penalty is 20 years for the one count of wire fraud he has pleaded to.
Luo agrees to pay $11,784 in restitution to New York state for lost taxes. He also agrees to give up 51 cases of liquor seized in the case, part of a load for which he reportedly paid $9,386 in cash.
According to the "Statement of Facts," dated March 23 but made public on July 21 and attached to Luo's plea agreement, he and Bao Zheng, another New York liquor store owner, bought booze in Maryland for at least two years, starting in 2013, to dodge New York taxes. The pair used a 2011 Suburban to carry the cases of liquor back to their stores for sale without registering as liquor distributors or importers as required by law.
"The smugglers asked the Cecil County retailers to make sure that there were no labels on the cases of liquor that would show that the liquor was purchased in Maryland," the statement says. "Those smugglers thereby intended to conceal the origin of the liquor from the state of New York to avoid the payment of New York State and New York City excise taxes." The state tax is $6.44 a gallon; New York City imposes another dollar on top of that.
He is scheduled for sentencing on Oct. 8.