News and Press Releases

South Carolina Man Pleads Guilty to Charges of Unlawful Distribution of Cigarettes and Making False Monthly Tobacco Reports

January 26, 2011

OXFORD, Miss. – John Marshall Alexander, United States Attorney for the Northern District of Mississippi, Daniel McMullen, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Phillip Durham, Special Agent in Charge of the New Orleans Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), announce that:

Wilton Leon Holley, 59, of Anderson, South Carolina, entered a guilty plea today before United States Senior District Judge G. Ross Anderson, Jr., in Anderson, South Carolina. Holley pled guilty to two-count Indictment returned by a grand jury in the Northern District of Mississippi in October 2010, charging him with executing a scheme to defraud the United States, the states of Mississippi and South Carolina, as well as other states, and the National Association of Attorneys General, of millions of dollars of taxes and fees due and owing from the unlawful distribution of cigarettes and with making and causing to be made false monthly tobacco reports.

United States Attorney John Marshall Alexander stated: “Wilton Leon Holley has pled guilty to participation in a scheme to deprive three states, the National Association of Attorneys General, and the United States of millions of dollars under the Tobacco Litigation Settlement and other taxes. This investigation and prosecution is the product of an outstanding law enforcement investigative effort. The Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Tupelo Police Department, and the South Carolina Department of Revenue have and continue to conduct an excellent undercover investigation to stop such illegal activity. They should be commended.”

Holley faces a maximum possible penalty of not more than 20 years in prison on counts one and not more than three years in prison on count two; not more than a $250,000 fine on each count; and not more than three years supervised release on each count.

The investigation of these cases is a joint effort by the FBI, ATF, the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, the Tupelo Police Department, and the South Carolina Department of Revenue. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Chad Lamar and Clay Joyner from the Northern District of Mississippi and Assistant United States Attorney Will Lucius of the District of South Carolina.


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