LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A Florida tobacco distributor long watched by federal investigators has pleaded guilty to money laundering and conspiracy in a scheme to avoid paying taxes owed on online cigarette sales in Kentucky.
Pedro “Peter” Bello became the second person to admit to plotting to use phony invoices to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars’ worth of cigarettes. Bello entered the plea this afternoon in U.S. District Court in Louisville.
A co-conspirator, 48-year-old Israel Chavez of Louisville, pleaded guilty earlier this month.
Bello’s attorney and federal prosecutors say the deal will spare Bello legal troubles in Mississippi, where the U.S. attorney was considering presenting a case to a grand jury.
Prosecutors say Bello, Chavez and others routed invoices for cigarette sales through companies in other states to avoid paying Kentucky taxes.
BEFORE YOU GO…
… we’d like to ask for your support. More people are reading the Mississippi Business Journal than ever before, but advertising revenues for all conventional media are falling fast. Unlike many, we do not use a pay wall, because we want to continue providing Mississippi’s most comprehensive business news each and every day. But that takes time, money and hard work. We do it because it is important to us … and equally important to you, if you value the flow of trustworthy news and information which have always kept America strong and free for more than 200 years.
If those who read our content will help fund it, we can continue to bring you the very best in news and information. Please consider joining us as a valued member, or if you prefer, make a one-time contribution.Click for more info