Family Act cops $45k fine for bootleg liquor sales

Department of Customer Service

The Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority has fined a father and son $45,000 for selling more than $100,000 worth of alcohol through an unlicensed warehouse in NSW’s Riverina district.

Mr Gregg Herron, business owner of Smithfield Cellars, a liquor store in Sydney’s western suburbs, was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $20,000 in legal costs.

His son, Mr Clarke Herron, was fined $5,000 and ordered to pay $10,000 in costs. Both men also received a reprimand, conditional on the fines being paid within 60 days.

The complicated scheme involved an agent, Mr Roy Agresta, selling liquor from the unlicensed Griffith warehouse leased by a Mr Kenneth Lewis.

The liquor was sourced from Queensland and illegally sold in and around Griffith to local NSW restaurants, bottle shops, clubs and hotels.

The Authority found the Herrons had acted carelessly, accepting the arrangement proposed by Mr Lewis without getting their own legal advice.

ILGA Chair Philip Crawford said that under the Liquor Act 2007 (NSW) it is illegal for a licensed liquor retailer to sell alcohol outside the scope of its licence or through another unlicensed premises.

“This ultimately puts customers at risk because there are no guarantees that what is being sold is genuine or safe,” Mr Crawford said.

“Don’t risk your business’ reputation – if you’re buying alcohol from a wholesaler, make sure you’re dealing with a licensed business.”

In its ruling, ILGA also placed a condition on the licence of Smithfield Cellars, prohibiting Mr Lewis from having any association with the business.

ILGA’s decisions on the penalties can be viewed at below links:

Venues and retailers can check a supplier’s licence here:

/Public Release.