News and Press Releases

Sharon, Pa., Tobacco Businesses, Owner Charged with Fraud, Filing False Reports

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 12, 2014

PITTSBURGH – Two tobacco wholesale businesses located in Sharon, Pa., and their owner and manager have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Pittsburgh on charges of mail fraud and filing false reports of cash transactions, United States Attorney David J. Hickton announced today.

The 32-count Superseding Indictment named Tareq Alasadi, 38, of Youngstown, Ohio, Raid Zaghari, 41, of Brooklyn, New York, and USA Trading Corporations I and V, both located at on West Budd Street, in Sharon as the defendants. The Superseding Indictment describes Zaghari as the owner of those corporations and Alasadi as the on-site manager.

According to the Superseding Indictment, Alasadi and USA Trading Corporation I, pursuant to federal regulations pertaining to the obligations of businesses to report receipts of cash in excess of $10,000, submitted 28 reports to the United States Government between July and September of 2011. The Superseding Indictment also alleges that those reports related to USA Trading's receipt of approximately $579,000 in cash between July and September of 2011. The Superseding Indictment charges that the reports filed by Alasadi and USA Trading Corporation contained false information regarding the sources of that cash.

The Superseding Indictment charges that Zaghari and his Pennsylvania based corporations defrauded the State of North Carolina and the State of New York by falsely representing the amounts of tobacco products that those two corporations distributed in North Carolina and New York. According to the Superseding Indictment, the false representations were made in tax forms which Zaghari submitted, or caused to be submitted, to the State of New York and the State of North Carolina. Alasadi is also charged in the scheme to defraud the State of North Carolina.

Alasadi faces a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for each of the 28 counts that charge him with filing false reports, and a maximum sentence of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for each of the two counts in which he is charged with defrauding the State of North Carolina.

Zaghari faces a maximum of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000 for each of the four counts in which he is charged with defrauding the State of North Carolina and the State of New York.

The corporations face penalties ranging from fines and/or forfeitures to divestiture of assets

Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Shaun E. Sweeney is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives conducted the investigation leading to the indictment in this case.

A superseding indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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