IDNR cites businesses

Staff Writer
Aledo Times Record

Milan, Illinois: In September of 2009, Illinois Conservation Police were conducting routine watercraft safety inspections on the Mississippi River.  During the inspections, the Conservation Police Officer on patrol located two operators that had recently applied for new registration. Upon reviewing the applications and accompanying paperwork, the Officer noted both subjects appeared to have been overcharged by Milan License & Title. The two safety inspections resulted in an eight month investigation by the Conservation Police. Eventually, the investigation turned into a joint investigation with the Illinois Dept. of Revenue.  

     The owner of Milan License & Title (Vickie J. Brown of Taylor Ridge) allegedly overcharged applicants for watercraft registrations and retained the excess monies. The investigation uncovered 44 alleged thefts by deceptive practice. Vickie J. Brown also allegedly failed to pay taxes on watercraft for which she collected payment and forged tax documents. Brown was charged with four counts of Violate Use Tax Act (Class 3 Felonies), seven counts of Forgery (Class 3 Felonies) and nine counts of Theft by Deceptive Practice (Class A Misdemeanors).

     On 09/22/11, in a plea agreement, Brown plead guilty to three Counts of Theft By Deceptive Practice. The remaining charges were dismissed. She was placed on 24 months probation and was fined $45,427.75 plus court costs. The fines included restitution to the Illinois Department of Revenue in the amount of $36,580.00. Brown was also ordered to pay restitution to the theft victims in the amount of $2,997.25.

Rock Island, Illinois: In April of 2009, Illinois Conservation Police received a complaint alleging Wakeen’s Family Boating Center failed to secure watercraft registration for a boat they sold to a customer. The Conservation Officer receiving the complaint initiated an investigation. The initial complaint lead to the discovery of 47 watercraft which were either registered incorrectly or were never registered. The investigation also uncovered instances where purchase dates were allegedly altered and taxes collected were allegedly never remitted to the Illinois Department of Revenue.    

     At the conclusion of a four month investigation by the Illinois Conservation Police and the Illinois Department of Revenue, Wakeen’s Family Boating Center was charged with four counts of Falsification Of A Material Fact In An Application To Obtain A Watercraft Title (Class 2 Felonies). One of the owners (Mary Wakeen of Onalaska, Wisc.) was also charged with two counts of Failure To Transfer Watercraft Registration Within 15 Days Of Purchase, two counts of Failure To Transfer Watercraft Title Within 15 Days Of Purchase, and one count of Unlawful Sale Of A Watercraft Without Delivering Certificate Of Title.

     On 09/22/11, in a plea agreement, Mary Wakeen plead guilty to four counts of Selling A Watercraft Without A Certificate Of Title (Class A Misdemeanors). The felony charges against Wakeen’s Family Boating Center and remaining misdemeanor charges against Wakeen were dismissed. She was placed on 24 months conditional discharge, and assessed fines and costs totaling $7,500.  Wakeen was also required to pay $53,666.18 to the Illinois Department of Revenue for taxes owed on payments that were not remitted at the time of the customer’s purchase.