A Scottsbluff liquor store owner will serve four months in jail and has been ordered to pay more than $6,000 in costs after being convicted on liquor law violations.
Scotts Bluff County Court Judge Kris Mickey sentenced Kuldip “Cheema” Singh on Wednesday on eight counts connected to an Oct. 7, 2020, search of Singh’s store, Cheema’s Gas & Liquor. A Scotts Bluff County Court jury convicted Singh of four counts of evasion of liquor tax, a Class II misdemeanor, and four counts of acquiring liquor from someone other than a licensed dealer, in May.
On each of the evasion charges, Mickey sentenced Singh to 30 days jail and fined him $1,000. On each of the acquiring liquor charges, Mickey fined Singh $500. According to online court records, Singh’s jail sentence began immediately on Wednesday. However, records showed Singh had indicated he planned to appeal the case, so a due date had not yet been assigned for Singh to pay fines.
During trial 17 boxes of liquor, such as Jack Daniels and Crown Royal, were among the evidence introduced as investigators with the Nebraska State Patrol and officials with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission testified about a 16-month investigation that led to charges against Singh.
The case had begun with the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission receiving a complaint about Singh selling alcohol at his Scottsbluff convenience store that he hadn’t purchased from an identified Nebraska wholesaler, as required by law. Nebraska State Patrol investigator Rob Jackson, who oversees liquor law enforcement in Troop E, led the investigation that included surveillance of Singh’s store and controlled buys by investigators of alcohol from the store. Investigators determined Singh had been transporting liquor from his Wyoming store to be sold at the Nebraska store. The case involved Nebraska and Wyoming authorities working together as Wyoming authorities had labeled alcohol purchased by Singh, unknown to the man. In Wyoming, the state is the only distributor of alcohol.
Singh is now being represented by Scottsbluff attorney Maren Chaloupka after previous attorney Bell Island withdrew from the case. Island cited Singh as having hired new counsel in his motion to withdraw, filed on June 19, after
Singh’s license, which had been just renewed in February 2021, remained active as of Wednesday, according to the Nebraska Liquor Control Commission website. Stay tuned to the Star-Herald and starherald.com for updates on Singh’s liquor license status.