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Connecticut man pleads guilty to tobacco tax scam

January 27, 2015

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Connecticut man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Massachusetts to his role in a scheme authorities say cheated the government out of $43 million in tobacco excise taxes.

Jugjeev Kharbanda, of Seymour, Connecticut, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Springfield to conspiracy and trafficking in contraband smokeless tobacco.

He faces sentencing on June 25.

Prosecutors say the 29-year-old Kharbanda and his co-conspirators worked together to avoid paying large amounts of tobacco excise taxes on cigars and smokeless tobacco products sold from warehouses in Springfield and Danbury, Connecticut.

Authorities say the scheme was part of a larger interstate cigar and tobacco smuggling ring that robbed the government of $43 million in excise taxes.

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