Statewide “roll-your-own” investigation yields 10 arrests including two in Rockland County
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance Thursday announced the arrest of 10 individuals in the Capital District and Hudson Valley regions for illegally possessing untaxed cigarettes and untaxed tobacco.
The 10 – all employees or owners of roll-your-own (RYO) cigarette outlets – are alleged to have possessed quantities of pre-rolled, untaxed cigarettes that were to be offered to the general public for sale, in violation of the New York State Tax Law. There were no immediate arrests at two of the twelve locations raided, though evidence was seized at those stores.
Earlier this year, undercover investigators with the Tax Department made purchases of untaxed, pre-rolled cigarettes at each of the twelve locations at issue.
Because cigarette taxes were not prepaid as required, these shops were able to sell cigarettes for as low as $35 a carton. When sold legally, cigarettes can cost as much as $100 a carton for premium brands.
“Avoiding taxes gives unscrupulous merchants an unfair advantage over business owners who comply with their tax responsibilities,” said Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox.
The ten individuals arrested were charged with crimes for the illegal possession of untaxed cigarettes for the purpose of sale, and/or possessing untaxed tobacco.
The ollowing are the locations of the stores busted in Rockland County, items seized and individuals arrested (including charges):
- Tobacco House of C & W, 10 Orangetown Shopping Center, Orangeburg; two RYO machines, 104 cartons of untaxed cigarettes, 100 pounds of untaxed tobacco and $3,221 in cash seized; Bao Chai Wang charged with one class E felony and one class A misdemeanor
- Tobacco House of O.Y., 144 Ramapo Road, Garnerville; two RYO machines, 11 cartons of untaxed cigarettes and $7,122 seized; Xiu Ming Liu charged with one class A misdemeanor