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Tobacco company to pay $750K for contraband trafficking

CigaretteBOWLING GREEN, Ky. — Kentucky-based tobacco company that makes Golden Harvest, Millennium and Red Buck cigars will pay $750,000 in restitution and forfeitures after pleading guilty to conspiracy to engage in contraband cigarette trafficking.

U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley sentenced Tantus Tobacco of Russell Springs, Kentucky, on Monday. The company will pay $200,000 to the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet in lost taxes and $60,000 to the Kentucky attorney general’s office for its assistance in the investigation. Tantus Tobacco forfeited $490,000 to the United States.

The company admitted to helping cigarette brokers Jerry Burke and Charles Wells in avoiding taxes. Burke and Wells pleaded guilty to making false statements in reports to the U.S. government and the state of Mississippi. Both were sentenced in 2011 to two years in prison.


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