Madison man indicted for swindling investors in Salute American Vodka deal

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A federal grand jury in Hartford has indicted a Madison man, who is accused of swindling investors who he solicited for what was to have been a deal to buy a Connecticut vodka distiller.

Brian Hughes, 56, is accused of charges running from tax evasion to fraud in a 17-count indictment made public Friday.

Hughes is accused of raising more than a half million dollars from investors to buy a company called Salute American Vodka, which lists an address in a Branford industrial park, and diverting about $150,000 for personal use. Hughes told investors they would be compensated with stock and that he wouldn’t take a salary, according to the indictment.

Hughes has pleaded not guilty to all charges and is being held without bail.

The investors, who each put up about $100,000, were told the money would be use to acquire and operate Salute. In fact, according to the indictment, Hughes diverted money to accounts opened in his or his wife’s names, a personal investment in a fitness company and and for lulling payments designed to mislead investors into believing they were getting returns on their investments.