2009-08-15 / News

Former Capt. Woody's owners get two years in jail

By Scott Rawdon

AVONDALE- The former owners of Capt'n Woody's Pub & Grub in Avondale were each sentenced to two years in prison and each fined $84,000 for distributing marijuana and filing fraudulent tax forms. General Manager Robert "Pedro" Mar continues to operate the popular club.

According to a U.S. Department of Justice press release, Joseph Marasco, 42, of Pataskala, and Robert Fusner, 34, of Grove City each received a sentence of 24 months for their roles in a marijuana distribution conspiracy.

Gregory G. Lockhart, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Ohio and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, announced the sentences handed down Aug. 11 by Senior United States District Judge John D. Holschuh.

Marasco pleaded guilty April 1 to one count of willfully filing a fraudulent 2002 federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, and to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana. Marasco was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment on each count to be served concurrently.

Fusner pleaded guilty March 3 to one count of willfully filing a fraudulent 2001 federal income tax return with the Internal Revenue Service, and to one count of conspiracy to possess with the intent to distribute over 100 kilograms of marijuana. Fusner was sentenced to 24 months imprisonment on each count to be served concurrently.

Public court documents and testimony show that beginning in early 1997 and continuing for a period of seven or eight years, Marasco located sources of marijuana that he and Fusner sold to friends and associates. Typically Fusner would arrange for the marijuana to be brought into Central Ohio from out of state. One supplier was from Canada.

Neither Marasco nor Fusner reported the profits from the sale of marijuana on their federal income tax returns, nor did they pay any federal income taxes on these profits. The IRS estimated that for the three consecutive years of 2001 through 2003, Marasco and Fusner each failed to pay approximately $84,000 in federal income taxes.

Marasco and Fusner were ordered to pay restitution to the IRS in the amount of $84,000 each. Both men must also serve a period of five years on supervised released at the conclusion of their prison terms.

A federal grand jury indicted Marasco and Fusner on July 16, 2008.

Matt Mullins, Public Information Officer for the Ohio Department of Commerce Division of Liquor Control, said Mar's father's request to transfer Capt'n Woody's liquor permit to his name is still pending. The division is still reviewing the criminal cases involving Marasco and Fusner to determine what action will be taken regarding the permit renewal and transfer, said Mullins. He added that the division might have been waiting for Marasco and Fusner's sentencing before making a decision.

Mar couldn't be reached for comment.

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