Frank A. Rubino, ESQ.

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Florida man sentenced in cigarette tax evasion case

Throughout Florida, authorities are working to stem financial crimes. This often means working with authorities from other states as well, since the transactions made are often in multiple areas and cross state lines. This was true in a recent tax crime case, which involved a Florida-based tobacco distributor who was accused of avoiding the payment of taxes that he owed for online cigarette sales made in Kentucky.

The defendant in the case, 43, is based in Miami. He pleaded guilty last spring to having produced phony invoices in an effort to avoid paying the taxes due on sales of cigarettes. According to published reports, he had sold millions of dollars of cigarettes in Kentucky and other states, so the tax burden was substantial.

An assistant U.S. attorney said the reason the defendant produced false invoices was to route sales through a number of other states. That way, he could avoid having to pay Kentucky taxes, because the false invoices would make it appear that the sales were associated with other states instead. In this effort, the defendant was abetted by a co-conspirator, a 48-year-old man.

That co-conspirator owned a St. Louis company that was used in the process of rerouting invoices. He pleaded guilty last spring. Ultimately, he agreed to a $3.1 million settlement in regards to the unpaid taxes.

The primary defendant in this case has now been convicted and sentenced. Other Florida residents accused of unrelated tax crime matters will undoubtedly have many considerations to review. With an experienced criminal law attorney, those who find themselves in a similar position can learn details about the charges they face, the key facts about their case and how to mount a good defense.

Source:  Courier-Journal, "Florida man gets 18 months in prison for tax evasion on Kentucky cigarette sales" Andrew Wolfson, Feb. 03, 2014

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