PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Like something out of the Prohibition Era, police have shut down sales of alcohol at a Center City speakeasy-themed restaurant and arrested the owner on charges of forgery.
Police say Matthew Swartz, who runs the Farmers’ Cabinet at 11th & Walnut Streets alongside his wife, was taken into police custody on Wednesday.
According to arrest papers, PLCB records showed the restaurant had failed to renew its liquor license, which had expired. On 12/12/13, Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers purchased beer inside the restaurant then informed the bar to cease operations until it had the authority to operate.
The officers say they were shown documents by management from the PLCB showing the licensee had temporary authority to operate until 12/29/13, but those documents turned out to be forged.
On Wednesday, undercover officers went to the premises and purchased alcohol before a detail of officers conducted a criminal and administrative investigation.
While the Farmers’ Cabinet was reportedly licensed by Swartz’ wife, he gave Pa. State Police a written statement that he had forged the temporary liquor license and told his staff to show it to LCE officers while knowingly selling alcohol without a license.
Swartz claimed he needed the money and could not pay his taxes on time.
Police say Matthew Swartz is now facing charges of forgery and sales of alcohol without a license. They also seized $602, 832 bottles of alcohol and the forged liquor license.