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Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Illegal Tobacco Commission, chaired by DOR Commissioner Amy Pitter, released a report on the illicit tobacco trade which recommends that teaming up with federal, state and local law enforcement can be a successful model for combatting such criminal activity.

And it works.   Recently a Connecticut man was charged in federal court with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, wire fraud, trafficking in contraband smokeless tobacco, money laundering, and violation of the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act after several federal, state and local agencies including the Department of Revenue teamed up for an investigation into an alleged illegal tobacco operation.

It’s a clear message: participating in the illegal tobacco trade will not be tolerated.

The defendant is accused of defrauding Massachusetts and Connecticut by failing to pay excise taxes on smokeless tobacco and cigars owed by businesses he owned and controlled. It is alleged that he transferred smokeless tobacco into the state without reporting it as required under the PACT Act. The indictment also accuses him of accepting payments for tobacco products in cash amounts of more than $10,000 without filing the required paperwork in order to disguise the true volume of the tobacco products and the source of the cash payments. He allegedly provided fake invoices and caused the filing of false excise tax returns to state tax authorities.  According to documents filed in connection with the charges, the government attributes an estimated $43 million in losses due to the defendant’s activity.

If found guilty, the defendant faces multiple sentences including as many as 20 years in prison and fines totaling as much as half a million dollars. The case is being prosecuted by the US Attorney’s Springfield Office. Click here for further details about the case.

 

 

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