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Man pleads guilty to role in contraband tobacco scam

TUPELO — A South Carolina man is the latest person to plead guilty to federal charges related to a scheme to avoid paying taxes on thousands of packs of cigarettes.

Fred Brackett of Lancaster pleaded guilty today in U.S. District Court. The indictment in the case says Bracket bought more than 188,000 cartons of cigarettes and dodged taxes in a scheme with ties to a Mississippi wholesale distributor.

Court records say Brackett underreported the amount of cigarettes he was buying from Globe Distributing in Tupelo.

Two men connected to distribution companies, Jerry Burke of Tupelo and Randy Benham of Cordova, Tenn., had already pleaded guilty in the case.

Prosecutors say they created false documents to make it appear tobacco products were being sold in Mississippi when they actually were being sold elsewhere.

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