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February 21, 2013

Explaination on dropped charges for employees
Amended charges filed in Acapulco case

Wanda English Burnett

"It's simple. It's a criminal case about theft, forgery, perjury, racketeering...", noted Indiana Excise Police Master Officer Tim Sutton, who is the lead investigator in the Acapulco Restaurant ongoing criminal case against its owners.

Sutton says people may have become confused when over 100 arrest warrants came out and many of those served in one day on employees of Acapulco Restaurants in Lawrenceburg, Batesville and Versailles. Many of those charges later were dropped.

An Amended Probable Cause has now been filed on the owners, Adolfo Lopez and Benito Lopez, of the restaurant chain that expands into Ohio and Kentucky and has 11 restaurants in all.

While Sutton agrees the case is complicated in many ways, he says the newest filings should simplify things.

Sutton responds to the fact that of the over 100 arrest warrants that were issued, many of those people have been released. He said some were here in this country illegally and have been deported. He says other are out of jail on federal bond. The ones who have social security numbers they can trace, or were here illegally, they have been able to deal with.

Those with false social security numbers are the hardest. Sutton says some were traced to people who are deceased, minors, or numbers that belong to someone else entirely.

It's true. Some of those with warrants out for them will not be arrested. However, he noted that some who are out of jail now, could still face charges down the road. "These charges could be refiled," Sutton told The Versailles Republican.

Sutton says the criminal charges against the owners is far from over and will be pursued to the fullest extent of the law. He noted that the theft charges are due to the owners not paying the proper amount of sales tax, which is stealing from every Hoosier, along with the state.

The pending case only reveals records from the restaurants since 2008. Sutton says they have been in business since 2004.

The Lopez's are accused of showing a certain amount of money on their records, but turning in a lower amount on which they paid taxes. "Other businesses in the area can't get away with it and they shouldn't either," Sutton noted. From Jan. 1, 2008 through Aug. 30, 2012, the restaurant chain hid over $4 million from the state. This was total unreported cash sales. Officers found about $3.4 million in safety deposit boxes in various banks. They were hiding roughly 30% of their money from the government, stashing it away in safety deposit boxes.

Other crimes committed seem to hit home a little harder for those in the work force. A worker for Adolfo Lopez told police that when he was hired he was told he would only be working for tips. Then he stated that he worked 60-65 hours per week for about four years receiving only tips as his compensation.

He said he was instructed by Adolfo Lopez to create a time sheet and post it in the kitchen for all employees to follow, after the restaurant in Lawrenceburg was inspected by the Department of Labor. However, the victim maintains that the time sheet was false and the employees were warned they would be fired if they did not follow the false time sheet.

Another employee was told he did not need a social security number to work. He was later supplied with a social security number for $120.00. This practice of obtaining false numbers was a common thing for the employees, according to court records.

The amended probable cause has been signed by the Dearborn County Prosecutor and Judge and will now proceed to trial sometime in June in Dearborn County. For now, only Adolfo and Benito Lopez are charged with crimes and will stand trial.

The case that has been boiled down to charges against two men, has been complex with Sutton working long hours for the past four years looking at literally thousands of numbers, trying to make sense out of it all.

Both Lawrenceburg and Batesville restaurant sites have reopened, but Versailles Acapulco Restaurant remains closed for now.

Sign-ups for summer leagues to begin soon
for Versailles Sports Complex

Cindy Ward
Staff Writer

The Versailles Town Council met Thursday, February 14 at the Versailles Town Hall.

Present were Sue Meisberger, president; Kiersten Libby, treasurer; John Holzer and Steve Mathes, council members; Kevin Hensley, superintendent; and Ben Sieverding, fire chief. Town attorney Larry Eaton was also in attendance.

Jeff Hamm from the sports complex board informed the council that Chris Pickett has been appointed as their newest board member. He said that sign-up forms for the summer leagues will soon be available to the schools and jobs for the leagues will be posted. The board meets on the second Thursday of each month at 8 p.m, with the next meeting taking place on March 14.

Jerry Gilpin addressed the town council on behalf of the Lion's Club. He announced they will be hosting their annual chicken barbecue on June 22 and would like permission to use the square. Council unanimously approved the request. He also said that the Versailles Pumpkin Show will take place from Wednesday through Sunday, September 25-29. This year's festival will feature a community church service on the stage on Sunday morning, as well as live gospel music.

Gilpin said the Lion's Club has completely renovated the old Spencer Tyson Pharmacy building and it looks very nice. He encouraged council members to stop in and see the progress. He said they have a big show window display in which half is dedicated to Jim Tyson and the other half to the Lion's Club.

Chief Sieverding reported that the fire department has responded to 23 calls since last month's meeting. He said the department helped out with the search for the missing Alzheimer's patient in Dillsboro, as well as assisted Holton with a fire. He announced that Nick Schwarte is the department's newest member. Sieverding said that he obtained a quote to perform the electrical work and programming of the new tornado sirens in the amount of $4,300.00. Duke Energy will set the poles.

Superintendent Hensley said he met with someone from Hoosier Hills to discuss changes to be made at the water plant in order to make it compatible with the new water system. Hoosier Hills said the new system will be in place by the end of the year. Hensley also reported the cost for grass seed and fertilizer for the sports complex will be approximately $3,300.00. He said that he ordered 15 trees to be planted at the complex. Hensley said that parts have been ordered to rebuild the jetter pump.

Hensley also asked the council to consider his request to purchase a camera system to be used for locating problem areas in water and sewer lines, adding that this would help his department better pin point leaks and problem areas. The cost of the camera system would be in excess of $100,000.00. The town would not have to make any payments for one year. After that, the system would be paid for in five installments.

Holzer asked how much is spent each year to have someone come in with camera equipment. Hensley said it costs around $1,000.00 each time they need it done. Annually, the cost is around $7,000.00. Holzer suggested possibly co-oping with neighboring towns to help with the cost. Council said they would take the request under advisement and discuss it at a later time.

Libby announced that Historic Hoosier Hills would like the town council to nominate someone to serve on their board. Libby said the board holds six council meetings each year. Meisberger volunteered. Libby also announced that $146,000.00 was received by the town from a class action lawsuit. Attorney Eaton recommended the money be placed in the water fund

The Ripley County Area Planning Commission says the town must adopt an ordinance concerning flood hazards within the Town of Versailles, as well as adopt a resolution to participate in the National Flood insurance program. A motion was made to ordain and adopt the resolution and met with unanimous approval. Ordinance number 2013-01 and resolution number 2013-01 were assigned.

Mathes reported that there are three companies interested in working on the proposed walking/biking trails. He said he has the permits for the signs for the sports complex and will get quotes together on the signs for U.S. 421 directing traffic to the complex. It was suggested that Mathes check with the highway department to see if they could assist in putting up the signs once they are purchased.

Attorney Eaton presented the council with a bill for $537.00 from Jeff French for the survey conducted of the property to be deeded to the legion. The expansion is of the property line is being done to accommodate smokers to be in compliance with the new smoking laws. He said he will write the deed for council members to sign.

To read these and more articles pick up a copy of The Versailles Republican at your local store or subscribe by clicking on the link above or by calling 812-689-6364.
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