LONG ISLAND, NY – Buffalo – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Jerry Boone today announced the arrest of Buffalo tobacco importer Anthony Mansour, 28, for failing to pay over one million dollars in taxes. Mansour is charged with importing over $2.5 million dollars’ worth of tobacco products into the state of New York without paying the required excise taxes. If convicted, Mansour faces up to 25 years in prison.
Anthony Mansour Allegedly Imported Over $2.5 Million in Tobacco Products Into NY Without Paying Required Tax
“Taxes on tobacco products are an important tool to lower smoking rates and limit healthcare costs. Untaxed cigarettes undercut both those efforts,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Smoking-related illnesses are the top preventable public health crisis. We must stop the flow of illegal cigarettes and take aggressive action against those who try to profit by evading tax laws.”
“Tax evasion is a serious crime, and we will continue to work with the Attorney General and all levels of law enforcement to root out those who would cheat New York State,” said Commissioner Boone.
The Attorney General’s indictment, unsealed today in Erie County Supreme Court, charges Mansour with one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the First Degree (a Class B felony), one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of counterfeit New York cigarette tax stamps (a class E felony), and one count of Cigarette and Tobacco Products Tax for possession of tobacco products without paying the required tax (a Class A misdemeanor). The case was initially investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division, and then referred to the Attorney General’s office for further investigation and prosecution.
According to the indictment statements made by the prosecutor at arraignment, in the year 2013, Mansour imported into New York over $2.5 million dollars of tobacco products from Pennsylvania. This importation resulted in an approximate $1.9 million tax liability that he failed to pay to New York State.
Mansour was arraigned today before Justice Penny M. Wolfgang, and the court imposed bail of $20,000.
The charges against the defendant are allegations and he is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
The case was investigated by the Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division.
Assisting in the investigation were Office of the Attorney General Investigator Christopher Bzduch, Supervising Investigator Richard Doyle and Deputy Bureau Chief Antoine Karam. The Investigations Division is led by Chief Dominick Zarrella.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Cydney Kelly of the Criminal Enforcement and Financial Crimes Bureau. The Bureau is led by Bureau Chief Gary Fishman and Deputy Chiefs Stephanie Swenton and Meryl Lutsky. The Division of Criminal Justice is led by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.
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