First-delivered Hawker 4000 Seized by U.S. Government
The first customer Hawker 4000, which was delivered to cigarette wholesaler Gary Hall in June, was seized along with other assets on Friday by the U.S. government as part of a 43-count federal fraud indictment. According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Kansas, Hall and seven of his business associates were involved in “a scheme to avoid paying taxes on cigarettes that cost the state of Oklahoma and Indian tribes $25 million in tax revenue.” Three of Hall’s businesses–Sunflower Supply Company, Discount Tobacco Warehouse and Rebel Industries–were also named as defendants. The investigation was begun by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in April 2006, when one of the defendants was stopped by the Kansas Highway Patrol in Coffeyville, Kan., for transporting a load of cigarettes worth more than $200,000 without required documents and appropriate tax stamps. The DOJ didn’t specify whether any of Hall’s airplanes–the Hawker 4000 or his previous Hawker 800–were used in the scheme, saying only that it was carried out “through a variety of means, including communications by Internet and fax and money wire transfers.” Hall’s defense attorney, Dan Monnat, said, “Gary Hall is a well respected businessman and philanthropist from southeast Kansas. He vigorously asserts his innocence of these accusations and welcomes a jury trial that will make that clear.” If convicted, the eight people indicted will face steep jail sentences and fines.