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Press Release

Dominican Man Indicted For Federal Tobacco Excise Fraud

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

HARRISBURG – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today that Jose Dominguez, age 52, a resident of the Dominican Republic, was indicted by a federal grand jury with conspiracy to defraud the United States in relation to federal tobacco excise taxes.


According to United States Attorney Bruce D. Brandler, Dominguez was owner of Victor Sinclair Cigars, a cigar manufacturer located in the Dominican Republic. The indictment alleges that beginning in 2009 through 2012, Dominguez conspired with an importer of large cigars based in East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, to evade the excise taxes imposed on the importation of Victor Sinclair manufactured cigars. Dominguez and the importer allegedly used fraudulent invoices to collect federal excise taxes from cigar retailers in the United States. Dominguez conspired with the importer to collect approximately $3.8 million in excise taxes. Of this amount, Dominguez and his co-conspirators, only payed $2.1 million to the government. Dominguez and the importer obtained approximately $1.8 million as a result of the scheme.


The case was investigated by the Department of Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph J. Terz is prosecuting the case.


Indictments are only allegations. All persons charged are presumed to be innocent unless and until found guilty in court.


A sentence following a finding of guilt is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.


The maximum penalty under federal law is five years of imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant's educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.


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Updated June 28, 2017