For Immediate Release
New York Man Pleads Guilty to Tobacco Tax Fraud
BOSTON – A New York man pleaded guilty yesterday in U.S. District Court in Springfield to evading taxes on the sale of tobacco products.
Sewa Singh, 63, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud, and one count of money laundering. A sentencing date has not yet been scheduled.
From 2008 to 2012, Singh worked with several co-conspirators to evade payment of tobacco excise tax by his wholesale business in Berlin, Conn. to the State of Connecticut. To achieve this, co-conspirators sold smokeless tobacco and cigars to Singh without reporting the sale to authorities as required by law. Singh and the co-conspirators then sold cigars and smokeless tobacco to convenience stores and gas stations from a “no-tax” computer and a “tax” computer, and then filed false tobacco tax returns with Connecticut tax authorities.
Singh and others took steps to conceal the conspiracy by changing the name of the corporation they operated every two years so that the new corporation would not be held liable for tobacco tax evasion, and by renting a secret storage space to hide the tobacco products when the Berlin, Conn. warehouse was subject to a search warrant.
The charge of conspiracy provides for a sentence of no greater than five years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charges of wire fraud provide for a sentence of no greater than 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. The charge of money laundering provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz; Daniel J. Kumor, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Kristina O’Connell, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Matthew Etre, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Boston, made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex J. Grant of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.