Risky Business owner charged with tobacco-related tax crime

Revenue tax specialists with the Minnesota Department of Revenue went to Beattie’s and seized 152 tobacco products valued at $2063.25.

The Crow Wing County Judicial Center is off Laurel Street in Brainerd.

BRAINERD — A local business owner faces five years in jail and a $10,000 fine for having tobacco products without paying state taxes in 2022.

Ronald William Beattie Jr., 55, of Baxter, owner of Risky Business Novelties and Videos, Inc., 326 Washington St., was charged March 31 with felony possession of $1,900 or more of untaxed tobacco products.

According to court documents, on July 28, 2022, revenue tax specialists with the Minnesota Department of Revenue went to Beattie’s store to conduct a random tobacco retail inspection. The inspectors requested invoices for all tobacco purchases and told the employee they would inspect the store and its inventory.

Risky Business is located on Washington Street in Brainerd.
Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch

Tobacco retailers are required to purchase products from distributors who are licensed by the department of revenue to ensure that taxes are collected on the products. Tobacco retailers are also required to keep invoices for all tobacco products on the premises as proof they were purchased from a licensed distributor and properly taxed.

The employee said they were new and would need to call their boss. Beattie told the inspectors he had purchased many of the tobacco products on consignment from vendors he met at trade shows.


Locating a substantial amount of tobacco products for which there were no invoices located on the premises, inspectors took photographs of the tobacco products and sent them to Beattie who provided some invoices but was unable to provide invoices for 152 of the products.

Those products were seized and Beattie was told about the process to contest the seizure.

The seized tobacco products were valued at $2,063.25 with a tax rate of 95%, giving an unpaid tax of $1,960.13.

Beattie did not appeal the seizure and admitted he was the person who purchased tobacco products for the store.

Previously, Beattie had multiple legal run-ins after a new law went into effect in 2011 which prohibited the possession and sale of synthetic marijuana. Beattie was arrested in 2011 and 2012 with charges of selling synthetic cannabinoids.

In 2013, a jury found Beattie guilty of 35 counts of willfully evading state taxes between 2006 and 2011 from his store.

In the felony tax evasion conviction, Beattie was sentenced on 18 counts, which withstood an appeal in 2014.

Beattie is due to make his initial appearance in Crow Wing County District Court on May 3.


Headline News from the Brainerd Dispatch

TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email .

Tim Speier joined the Brainerd Dispatch in October 2021, covering Public Safety.
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