Poplar Man Guilty of Evidence Tampering
HELENA – A Helena jury on Wednesday convicted a Poplar man of tampering with physical evidence for presenting a falsified floor plan at a liquor license revocation hearing in Helena in October 1999, Gambling Investigation Bureau chief Jeff Bryson said.
The revocation hearing resulted from Jerome B. Seaman’s conviction in Roosevelt County for transporting more than three gallons of liquor purchased in North Dakota to Montana, in violation of state law, and keeping liquor not purchased in Montana on his licensed premises, Bryson explained.
According to documents filed in Helena District Court by Deputy County Attorney Michael Menahan, investigators with the Montana Department of Justice Gambling Investigation Bureau visited the Depot Bar on April 17, 1996, and subsequently seized a quantity of alcohol that had been purchased in North Dakota. Seaman was convicted of the offenses following a jury trial in justice court in Wolf Point. He has appealed those convictions.
According to court records, Seaman’s defense was that the area where the investigators seized the liquor was actually part of a private living area not subject to inspection by the investigators.
Based on the justice court convictions, the Montana Department of Revenue moved to revoke Seaman’s liquor license. Seaman contested the revocation and requested an administrative hearing. At an October 1999 hearing in Helena, Seaman submitted a floor plan showing that the area where the illegal liquor was seized was a private apartment.
Hearings examiner Howard Heffelfinger and Department of Revenue attorney Roberta Cross Guns both became suspicious when they compared the floor plan with copies of the Depot Bar’s floor plans on file with the departments of Justice and Revenue. After the hearing, Department of Revenue licensing specialist Amber Carpenter requested that the Gambling Investigation Bureau conduct an investigation into the apparently altered document. That investigation led to the evidence tampering charge against Seaman.
Seaman could face 10 years in prison, a $50,000 fine, or both.