Oregon's Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force Secures Two Convictions For Smuggling Untaxed Tobacco Products
Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the conviction of Ashwin Roy Prasad and Kuldeep Singh for crimes related to the cross-border smuggling of untaxed tobacco products through Oregon. The defendants pled guilty to one felony count each of Transporting Untaxed Tobacco Product without a Permit in Marion County Circuit Court on October 25, 2006. The defendants were sentenced to pay a fine of $5,250.00 each.
The conviction of Prasad and Singh was secured by the Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force (TCTF), a cooperative effort between the Oregon Department of Revenue (DOR), the Oregon State Police (OSP), and the Oregon Department of Justice (DOJ).
"Once again, the unique collaboration among Oregon's state agencies comprising the TCTF has proven to be successful in holding violators of tobacco tax laws accountable," Attorney General Myers said.
Myers added, "These convictions are a warning to those bent on cheating Oregonians out of tax revenue that helps to cover the costs of schools, health care and public safety services."
Prasad and Singh were affiliated with a tobacco distribution company based in Reno, Nevada. In December 2004, the defendants were intercepted by OSP driving a truck loaded with untaxed tobacco products, valued at $94,000. The defendants drove from Reno, Nevada to purchase the contraband product at Lil' Brown Smoke Shack in Yakima, Washington. At the time of interception, the defendants were enroute back to Reno. The investigation further revealed that the tobacco products were destined for sale in California and that no taxes had been paid on previous purchases.
Oregon, Washington and California tax and enforcement agencies continue to work jointly to address the challenges presented by cross-border smuggling of untaxed tobacco products and the resulting loss of critical revenues. In August 2006, the TCTF assisted federal authorities in the execution of search warrants at Lil' Brown Smoke Shack, the source of the contraband tobacco products in this case and at least six other cases investigated and prosecuted by TCTF.
In Oregon, all individuals and businesses who transport untaxed tobacco products must first acquire a permit from DOR. Oregon tobacco products distributors who purchase untaxed tobacco products are required to be licensed and are responsible for self-reporting their purchase and paying state taxes. Additional information is available at www.oregon.gov/DOR/TOB/.
Stephanie Soden, (503) 378-6002