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Madison man charged with bilking vodka company investors

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MADISON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man has been charged with defrauding investors in an alcoholic beverage company and diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal use.

Federal authorities say 56-year-old Brian Hughes, of Madison, was arrested Thursday. Hughes is charged with wire fraud, illegal monetary transactions, money laundering, and tax evasion. Hughes pleaded not guilty by video conference.

Prosecutors say Hughes founded Handcrafted Brands LLC in 2015 for the purpose of raising money to buy Salute American Vodka. They say he diverted hundreds of thousands of dollars for his personal use.

A phone message was left with the federal public defender’s office, which is representing Hughes.

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