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Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley yesterday announced that three East Longmeadow residents pled guilty in Hampden Superior Court in connection with their involvement in an ongoing scheme to sell unstamped cigarettes.

Jin Zheng, the ringleader, pled guilty to charges of possession with intent to sell more than 12,000 unstamped cigarettes, evasion of cigarette excise taxes, sales tax evasion, filing false sales tax returns and filing false income tax returns. He was sentenced to serve a year in the House of Correction, with the sentence suspended for a probationary period of five years, and he was ordered to pay a $75,000 fine.

DOR investigators found that Zheng had failed to report receipts from the sale of unstamped cigarettes for the years 2005 through 2008. DOR alleged that Zheng sold 10,305 cartons of cigarettes during that time and cost the Commonwealth an estimated $163,000 in unpaid excise taxes. Zheng now has that tax debt to pay as well.

 

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