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News & Press: Government Affairs

Alcohol Crime Enforcement in Indiana

Wednesday, September 30, 2015  
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ATC Prosecutor Mark Mader Firm, fair and consistent — those are three words that Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission Prosecutor Mark Mader said he lives by. He shared his alcohol crime enforcement philosophy at the 2014 Beer, Wine and Spirits Trade Show where hundreds of people who sell alcohol gathered for the latest industry updates. When Mader took the job at the ATC, there was huge backlog of cases that he quickly cleared. He then established a fine schedule with no exceptions. “There are people who think excise is out to get you. We’re not. I’m not.” The Fast Track program, announced in April, was one of the initiatives that Mader implemented to process cases more efficiently. “I understand you have a lot invested in your permits. It’s not our intent to ever take that away from you, but there are people in the business who aren’t so responsible. I may tell you that you need to sell your permit and give it to someone who is more responsible.” Mader answered a series of questions from attendees: Q: We’re no longer receiving a letter of authority. Should those be sent from the ATC in the mail? A: The commission does not issue your permit. It goes to a company that prepares your permit and sends it to you. Sometimes, it’s easier for us to contract out our services. That’s what happened here. Q: We’re seeing a lot of coupons for alcohol discounts in the marketplace. How do we curb that practice? A: Unless we get a complaint, often times we have no idea. We operate on complaints and are dependent on you. We are required to investigate all of those. And we will. Q: Should fines be as heavy for an employee as it is for a business? A: The employee won’t make that mistake again. All too often, they’re fired and can’t pay the fine. I rarely see servers and bartenders who make repeat mistakes. Q: Are you seeing applications from out-of-state residents for package stores? A: It’s not a prosecutor’s question, but laws on residency have been upheld in other states. Q: Are you going back to the “Cops in Shops” program? A: I like the program. There’s a secret shopper program where people come in and report back to the owner. But the SAC program is based on statute, so that would be up to the General Assembly. SAC does keep you on your toes and (the program) is designed to do what it’s supposed to do. Q: What if you’re at an event with a teen, and the teen is offered alcohol? (example, at a tastings) A: It’s a violation. If you file a complaint, we will investigate. If you’re a parent, say no. One of the violations I saw this summer was at a Catholic church festival. There are family areas in a permit. You can’t take alcohol there. If you have a question and don’t know the answer, ask excise. In summary, Mader said: “You are our best eyes and ears. As they say in the White House, boots on the ground.” (Biography Note: Mark Mader is a graduate of Wabash College and the University of Louisville School of Law. He was raised in Richmond, Ind., where he maintained a private law practice and was a Wayne County Deputy Prosecutor. Prior to his return to Richmond to a private law practice, Mader had been a deputy prosecutor in Jefferson County, Kentucky, in juvenile and traffic courts. He also served in the administration of Gov. John Y. Brown in Kentucky. In 2004, Mader began employment with Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita in the Securities Division as a member of the Prosecution Assistance Unit. In 2006, Mader became a Deputy Attorney General in the Consumer Protection Division with responsibility for investigating and prosecuting healthcare and professional licensing violations. In February 2014, he was appointed as Indiana Alcohol & Tobacco Commission Prosecutor by Governor Mike Pence.)

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