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Press Release

Four Men Sentenced for Tobacco Trafficking Conspiracy

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Massachusetts

BOSTON – Four men have been sentenced in U.S. District Court in Springfield for their roles in a conspiracy to traffic in contraband tobacco and evade taxes. 

Ravinder Arora, 60, of East Longmeadow, was sentenced on Oct. 7, 2022 by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one year probation and restitution to be determined at a later hearing. In August 2015, Arora pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit contraband smokeless tobacco trafficking and three counts of contraband smokeless tobacco trafficking; aiding and abetting.

Jugjeev Kharbanda, 37, of Seymour, Conn., was sentenced on Oct. 5, 2022 by Judge Mastroianni to one year probation and restitution to be determined at a later hearing. In January 2015, Kharbanda pleaded guilty to conspiracy and three counts of contraband smokeless tobacco trafficking.

Sukhdev Singh, 69, of West Hartford, Conn., was sentenced by Judge Mastroianni on Oct. 4, 2022 to one year probation and restitution to be determined at a later hearing. In May 2016, Singh pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy, three counts of wire fraud and one count of money laundering.

Jaspal Singh, 59, also of Seymour, Conn., was sentenced on Oct. 3, 2022 by Judge Mastroianni to one year probation and restitution of to be determined at a later hearing. In October 2014, Singh pleaded guilty to conspiracy and three counts of contraband smokeless tobacco trafficking.

In 2008, the defendants owned or assisted in the operation of wholesale warehouses in Springfield and Connecticut that sold tobacco products, including cigars and smokeless tobacco, as well as other non-tobacco items, to convenience stores, gas stations and other retail businesses. From 2008 to 2012, the defendants conspired with co-conspirator Syed I. Bokhari and others to avoid paying large amounts of tobacco excise taxes on smokeless tobacco and cigars sold from the warehouses.

On Aug. 11, 2022, Bokhari was sentenced to one year of probation. The government recommended a sentence of 18 months in prison. In a related civil forfeiture action, Bokhari agreed to forfeit seized tobacco, currency, and other assets, which resulted in the recovery of $2,197,985 by the government. The government has also filed an additional forfeiture motion for $30,315.51 seized in connection with Jaspal Singh’s criminal activity. The final order has not yet been issued by the Court.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation in Boston; and Matthew B. Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge of Homeland Security Investigations in New England made the announcement today. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Christopher L. Morgan and Michael J. Mazur of Rollins’ Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the cases. 

Updated October 11, 2022

Topics
Tax
Drug Trafficking