News and Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

WEDNESDAY - December 14, 2011

NEW JERSEY MAN SENTENCED

RALEIGH - United States Attorney Thomas G. Walker announced that in federal court late yesterday Chief United States District Judge James C. Dever III, sentenced RAMON EDILIO GOMEZ, 42, to 30 months imprisonment followed by three years supervised release. The Court will make a decision regarding restitution in the coming weeks.

A Federal Grand Jury returned a Criminal Indictment on January 19, 2011. On July 27, 2011, in a bench trial, GOMEZ was found guilty of conspiring to ship, transport, receive and possess contraband cigarettes and transport stolen property in interstate commerce and aiding and abetting the interstate transportation of stolen property.

According to the investigation, between 2003 and 2010, GOMEZ and others devised a scheme to defraud northeastern states of tax revenue while profiting personally from the sale of the contraband cigarettes. An excise tax is charged on cigarettes. In New Jersey, New York and other states, a cigarette tax stamp in the form of an adhesive stamp, metered stamp, or heat transfer stamp is placed on cigarette packs as evidence of payment of the tax in a particular state. North Carolina is one of three states that do not apply tax stamps to cigarettes sold within the state. Consequently, unstamped cigarettes can easily be resold in other states for a substantial profit.

Between 2003 and 2010, GOMEZ, and others, would purchase cigarettes in North Carolina and drive to Pennsylvania, New Jersey or New York to sell the unstamped cigarettes at a profit. In August and September of last year, two controlled purchases of cigarettes were arranged, in which GOMEZ was lead to believe that part of the cigarettes were stolen. It is estimated GOMEZ avoided paying approximately $825,930 in taxes.

Investigation of this case was conducted by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement. Assistant United States Attorney Sebastian Kielmanovich is served as prosecutor for the government.

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