Update: Defense attorney says Cash’s wife will testify he wasn’t aware sales tax went unpaid

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Update: Tuesday 10:04 a.m. The jury was seated Monday and opening arguments began Tuesday in the state’s case against Michael John Cash, Sr, on two counts of violating the (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) RICO Act and 19 counts of converting funds collected for the benefit of the state. Chief Assistant District Attorney Randy McGinley laid out the case against Mike Cash, Sr., saying the state would show that he was fully aware of the fact that for 19 months during the period June 2012 to May 2015 sales tax was collected and not paid.

“You can’t claim you did not know what is happening the second time it happens,” McGinley said, referring to the time the same thing happened back in 2005 and Mike Cash Business Products declared bankruptcy.

But that appears to be just what the defense intends to claim.

In his opening arguments, Cash’s attorney, Brett Mizerak, said that Cash’s wife, Deborah Cash, was the bookkeeper and that “she and she alone” was responsible for reporting and paying the sales tax and that her husband had no knowledge whatsoever that it had not been paid up until a week before he was arrested. He said that Deborah Cash, who plead guilty last year and is currently serving a 4-year term, would testify to that fact – that her husband was not aware of what she was doing.

“This case is about knowledge and intent,” Mizerak said, going on to say that the state had to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mike Cash Sr. intentionally conspired with his wife to charge the sales tax and not pay it.

“We are not going to dispute what the bookkeeper did. It is that Mr. Cash did not know and did not conspire with his wife to not pay this sales tax,” Mizerak said. “We expect her to testify that she did it and that she did not tell her husband about the sales tax.”

Mizerak said that every dime of the sales tax has now been paid back.

McGinley said the state would show that Mike Cash Business Products operated under several different business names, such as Mega & Crew, LLC and Snows Mill Springs, LLC, at one time in the name of his son, Michael Cash Jr., but that Mike Cash Sr. was always the head of the business.

“The entire business was always Mega Mike Cash,” McGinley said. “It was one and the same and it operated on the taxpayer’s dime for years and years. It should have been closed down years ago.”

McGinley said that the business account was used for personal expenses, such as paying for their daughter’s mortgage. But Mizerak said there again Deborah Cash was expected to testify that she did that and her husband was not aware of it. Mizerak said it was only when Michael Cash, Jr. went to get a loan and couldn’t because there were tax liens against him for unpaid sales tax on a business registered in his name, that he went to his father about it. He said that was just before Mike Cash Sr. was arrested in June 2015.

“A week before he was arrested he finds out that sales tax had still not been paid,” Mizerak said, adding that proves that he did not know about it. He said it is easy to say that he should have known about it, but that was not what the case is about. “The state has to show that he intentionally and knowingly failed to pay sales tax and conspired with his wife to do so.”

The case is expected to continue for most of this week.

Update: Monday: 8:30 a.m.

Chief Assistant District Attorney Randy McGinley said the case against Mike Cash, Sr. former co-owner of Mike Cash Office Products, will begin at 8:30 a.m. on Monday with jury selection.

“July selection is first and I anticipate that it will take most of the day,” McGinley said.

Initial story

Alcovy Circut Court District Attorney Layla Zon said the case against Mike Cash, Sr., former co-owner of Mike Cash Office Products, Mike Cash Sr., is set to begin Monday, Aug. 14, 2017 in front of Judge Samuel D. Ozburn. Chief Assistant District Attorney Randy McGinley said earlier in the year that he anticipated the case lasting for a full week.

Cash’s wife and former co-owner of the store with him, Deborah Cash, was sentenced late last year to 20 years to serve four in prison after pleading guilty to one count of violating the state Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act. She turned herself in on Dec. 12, 2016 and is currently serving the time in the Walton County Detention Center. McGinley said that Cash, Sr. who faces two counts of violating the RICO Act and 19 counts of converting funds collected for the benefit of the state, could also change his mind at some point and take a plea deal, but at this time has opted to go to trial. He is represented by local attorney Brett Mizerak.

“Any defendant can always change their not guilty plea to a guilty plea even mid-trial,” McGinley said at the time, adding, “However, I can’t speculate on that. It is completely the defendant’s decision after consulting with his attorney.”

McGinley said although Deborah Cash has been sentenced to serve the four years in prison and the balance on probation, it is possible she could serve less time, based on a decision by parole.

Mike and Deborah Cash were arrested on June 11, 2015 following an eight month investigation by state officials into allegations that they were pocketing sales tax charged to their customers. The office products store was subsequently sold to The Alliance Family of Services following the arrest of Mike Cash and his wife last year. The store operated for a short time following the take over, but has since closed and is currently available for lease. An adjacent building that was also used by Mike Cash office products has recently been purchased by the owners of Rinse Bath and Body, which will move into the new location on S. Broad Street in the fall.

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