Expecting Surge in Cash, N.H. Liquor Commission Hires Armored Car Service

Nov 6, 2018

An armored car outside a state-run liquor store earlier this month.
Credit Todd Bookman/NHPR

The N.H. Liquor Commission will pay an armored car company about $5,200 to pick up cash at 16 of its high-volume stores this month.

The contract with Loomis Armored coincides with the current gift card promotional period, when there is typically a surge in sales at the state’s 79 liquor stores

.

The Liquor Commission is currently under investigation by the Attorney General for how it handles large all-cash transactions. Some rank-and-file employees say that “bootleggers” from other states take advantage of the gift card promotion, and have complained that they’re safety is put at risk by handling so much cash.

In February, Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky wrote to Gov. Chris Sununu calling for the investigation. Volinsky alleges the flood of cash from bootleggers may be tied to money laundering. The IRS has also taken an interest in how the Liquor Commission handles large cash transactions, and whether it is complying with federal financial reporting laws.

The Liquor Commission denies that it is violating any state or federal policies concerning its handling of cash transactions.

The agency has installed several dozen cash counting machines at its retail stores, and says it trains employees in cash counting techniques by using Monopoly money.

Contracts show that last year, the Liquor Commission hired Loomis to shuttle cash during November and December. The payments were capped at $9,999, which is a dollar below the threshold for most state contracts to require outside approval by the Executive Council.

The agency is currently reviewing bids for a long-term contract for armored car use.