A Bristol Borough based business has been connected to a tobacco smuggling operation federal investigators say.
Capital Trade Inc., a tobacco wholesaler that Department of State documents list 900 block of Canal Street in Bristol Borough, as its address was involved in a plot to transport approximately $40 million worth of tobacco from Pennsylvania to New York without paying millions of dollars in New York taxes, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania’s office.
Ramzi Al Najar, 43, of Staten Island, New York, was convicted after a week-long jury trial.
As part of the scheme, Al Najar and his associates created false invoices and filed false documents in Pennsylvania and New York states while underreporting the amount of tobacco they sold, according to federal authorities.
Additionally, federal authorities said, Al Najar did not register and report as an interstate seller of smokeless tobacco as required by the Prevent All Cigarette Smuggling Act (PACT Act).
“Here, the defendant attempted to skirt the system and cheat everyone who pays taxes on tobacco products,” said U.S. Attorney William McSwain. “The defendant has to play by the rules, just like everyone else, or suffer the consequences.
This jury verdict sends a clear message that the illegal interstate diversion of tobacco products will not be tolerated,” said William S. Walker, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Philadelphia. “Our special agents will continue tracking down criminals like Mr. Al Najar and his co-conspirators along with our law enforcement partners so they can be held accountable for their crimes.”