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About Ellen F. Rosenblum
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the indictment of the world's largest Internet retailer of cigarettes, Otamedia S.A. On January 11, 2005, a Marion County Grand Jury indicted Otamedia S.A., also known as Yessmokes.com, Yessmoke.ch, and dutyfreecig.com on charges of Racketeering, Engaging in Business as a Cigarette Distributor without a License, Unlawful Distribution of Cigarettes, Computer Crime and Failure to comply with tobacco Delivery Sales requirements by selling tobacco products to minors. The Racketeering count includes multiple allegations of violating federal law by wire and mail fraud.
Otamedia S.A. is a Belize registered corporation that operates from the country of Switzerland. Otamedia accounts for over 40 percent of the Internet cigarette business in the United States.
The indictment culminates a six-month long investigation by the Oregon Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force, a cooperative effort between the Oregon Department of Revenue, the Oregon State Police and the Oregon Department of Justice. During this investigation, undercover officers and juveniles with law enforcement supervision made purchases of cigarettes from Internet sites owned and operated by Otamedia S.A.
Oregon law requires all Internet distributors of tobacco products in Oregon to be licensed as a distributor by the Oregon Department of Revenue, to pay the Oregon cigarette tax, to notify the Oregon Department of Revenue of the names of the cigarette purchasers, and to verify that the purchaser is 18 years of age or older.
Otamedia S.A. is the second Internet retailer indicted by the Oregon Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force. The Task Force continues to aggressively investigate illegal distribution of tobacco products via the Internet.
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