A bill that would criminalize the sale and resale of products bought from the Army and Air Force Exchange Service, commonly known as troop store, is inching forward. A similar bill was also prefiled yesterday, but pertains to the resale not only of AAFES merchandise.
The House Committee on Commerce recommended House Bill 18-88’s passage by the full House, but with amendments aimed at strengthening the bill’s intent.
Rep. Christopher Leon Guerrero’s (Cov-Saipan) House Bill 18-88 or the AAFES Fraud and Abuse Prevention Act of 2013 seeks to criminalize, punish, and deter the sale and resale of alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, and other merchandise obtained from AAFES.
Under Leon Guerrero’s bill, any licensee, his agent, or employee violating the law could be fined not less than $1,000 and/or imprisoned for at least 90 days for each violation.
Subsequent violations within a two-year period could result in the immediate revocation of Alcoholic Beverage Control license.
Currently, there are no provisions that allow for the criminal prosecution of selling and reselling AAFES items that would serve as both a deterrent and punishment.
The bill authorizes the CNMI Department of Commerce’s Alcoholic Beverage and Tobacco Control Division, the Department of Public Safety, and the Office of the Attorney General to enforce and prosecute violations of the proposed law.
Those convicted twice or more within a two-year period would not be allowed to hold any class of license for five years from the date of the most recent conviction.
AAFES exists solely for the use and benefit of its authorized patrons, which include active duty military, retirees, reservists, National Guard personnel, U.S. Department of Defense employees when stationed outside the continental United States, U.S. Department of State officials serving in foreign countries, and dependents of these individuals with issued ID cards.
House Speaker Joseph Deleon Guerrero (Ind-Saipan), meanwhile, prefiled yesterday HB 18-122, imposing a penalty on persons who acquire and sell goods upon which excise tax has not been paid
In a phone interview, Deleon Guerrero said these goods also cover those obtained from AAFES.
Under the speaker’s bill, any person who is not exempt from the payment of excise tax that offers goods for sale upon which excise tax has not been paid is subject to a penalty equal to 100 percent of the retail value of the goods.
Such goods, according to the bill, are also subject to forfeiture.