Charges against former Sikeston mayor dismissed

Tuesday, June 24, 2003

SIKESTON, Mo. -- Felony charges were dismissed Friday against a Sikeston businessman and former mayor -- for now, said Scott County prosecuting attorney Paul Boyd.

Josiah D. "Josh" Bill was arrested in March on two felony charges of failing to make a sales tax return and a felony charge of forgery. Through his company, Mid-Continent Grain, Bill participated in "Corn for Cars" transactions that allow vehicles purchasers to avoid paying sales taxes.

The charges alleged that between Aug. 12 and Aug. 31 Bill altered a letter ruling from the director of the Department of Revenue and used the altered version to arrange the exchange of grain for automobiles through car dealers and purchasers without collecting or paying sales tax to the state from the sale of the grain. The other charges alleged he failed to file sales tax reports with the Missouri Department of Revenue.

But all charges were dismissed Friday after Boyd reviewed the case with DOR staff, he said.

"We've decided to dismiss the charges -- at this time -- so that the Department of Revenue can pursue any civil or administrative remedy they desire," Boyd said.

That could mean assessing taxes of Bill or administering a penalty, he said.

Boyd still has the option of refiling the charges, which carry a three-year statute of limitations. But he's waiting to see what the DOR finds in its ongoing investigation of Bill's use of the tax loophole, he said.

In a written statement, Bill said he was pleased with the outcome.

"But I think we should all be concerned that the Missouri Department of Revenue lured our local judicial officers into chasing this red herring," he said. "They know what the law says. That's why they've been trying to change it for the last five legislative sessions, unsuccessfully."

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