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For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Shanetta J. Paskel, 410-576-7939
spaskel@oag.state.md.us

Harrison Bros. Oysters, LLC Pleads Guilty to Thirty Four Counts of Oyster Tax Violations


BALTIMORE, MD (December 9, 2008)
– Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Harrison Bros. Oysters, LLC (“Harrison Bros.”), which is owned by Levin F. Harrison, IV, entered a plea of guilty to ten counts of Failure to Pay Inspection Tax on Exported Oysters, and an additional twenty four counts of Failure to Pay Severance Tax on Maryland Oysters, in the District Court for Anne Arundel County. The company was sentenced to pay a fine of $5,000, and it agreed to pay all outstanding taxes due to the Department of Natural Resources (“DNR”) for the 2005 – 2006 oyster season. The Defendant received a Probation before Judgment disposition from the Court, over an objection from the Attorney General’s Office.

As an oyster dealer in Tilghman, Maryland, Harrison Bros. is required to pay a severance tax to DNR on every purchase of oysters in Maryland. The amount of the tax is one dollar per bushel, and it is payable to the Department at the end of each week. The company is also required to pay an inspection tax of thirty cents per bushel on oysters exported out of the State, which is also due at the end of each week.

From October 7, 2005 to March 17, 2006, Harrison Bros. failed to pay the required severance tax for 11,624 bushels of oysters which the company had purchased from Maryland watermen. The company also failed to pay the required inspection tax on 11,362 bushels of oysters which the company had exported out of state. On March 17, 2006, Harrison Bros. had an outstanding tax obligation to DNR of $15,032.60. At the time of today’s plea, $3,943.60 in taxes remained outstanding.

The case was investigated and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Criminal Division with the assistance of Corporal Barry Ball of the Natural Resources Police Department.


   

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