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Press Release

Delaware man sentenced for cigarette smuggling

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, WEST VIRGINIA – A Virginia business owner was sentenced today for unlawful cigarette smuggling, First Assistant United States Attorney Randolph J. Bernard announced today.

Charanjit Singh, also known as Tony Chawla, age 61, of Wilmington, Delaware, was sentenced today to 30 months incarceration, and was ordered to pay a $30,000 fine, and ordered to forfeit $14,270,582.00. Singh pled guilty to one count of “Conspiracy to Traffic in Untaxed Cigarettes” in September 2017. Singh admitted to conspiring to profit from the unlawful sale of contraband cigarettes. 

Singh is an owner of American Cigarette Outlet, Inc., in Clearbrook, Virginia, which did business as Virginia Cigarette Outlet, Clearbrook Cigarettes, and Discount Cigarettes of King George. Singh admitted to transporting large quantities of cigarettes across state lines for redistribution and sale.  The cigarettes were acquired in Virginia, where the tax rate for cigarettes is one of the lowest in the nation, and sold in other states, including New York, which has one of the nation’s highest tax rates.  The cigarettes were possessed and transported in West Virginia.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Stein prosecuted the case on behalf of the government. Homeland Security Investigations, the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations, the Frederick County, Virginia Sheriff’s Office, the West Virginia State Police, and the New York City Sheriff's Office investigated.

Chief U.S. District Judge Gina M. Groh presided.

Updated August 17, 2018