A.G. SCHNEIDERMAN & NYS TAX COMMISSIONER MATTOX ANNOUNCE INDICTMENT OF NYC CIGAR DISTRIBUTOR FOR FAILING TO PAY OVER $6.1 MILLION IN TAXES

AG’S PRESS RELEASE

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox today announced the  unsealing of an indictment of a large-scale cigar distributor, Aamir Sulaiman, of Delta Distribution Services Corp. Sulaiman, a licensed tobacco distributor, and his Brooklyn-based corporation were charged with felony Criminal Tax Fraud, Offering a False Instrument for Filing, and Falsifying Business Records after an investigation showed that Aamir, who owns and operates Delta, imported millions of cigars from Pennsylvania-based wholesalers and resold them in New York without paying New York taxes on the products. Sulaiman was arraigned in Brooklyn Supreme Court in front of Judge Chun. If convicted, the 45-year-old faces up to 25 years in prison.

The investigation, conducted by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force and the Department of Taxation and Finance, revealed that between March and November 2013, Aamir allegedly failed to pay at least $6.1 million in state tobacco taxes. A review of seized records revealed that Sulaiman and Delta Distribution Services Corp. owed over $6 million in tobacco taxes to New York State and remitted only $100,000.

“On behalf of responsible businesses, taxpayers, and local governments, we must take aggressive action against tax cheats — especially those who have stolen millions of dollars from the people of New York State,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Operations like these undermine law-abiding mom-and-pop shops and other businesses in New York by putting them at a competitive disadvantage, not to mention damaging our public health efforts to discourage smoking. I thank the Department of Taxation and Finance for partnering with us on this important case.”

“In his effort to steal from the State, it appears the defendant filed multiple false tobacco tax returns, and also falsified his business documents,” said New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox. “This is a serious crime, and I thank Attorney General Schneiderman for moving ahead with prosecution.”

Between March and November 2013, licensed tobacco distributors were required by law to remit a 75% tax on the wholesale price of all cigars sold, shipped, imported, manufactured, or delivered in New York. That payment must be made to the state Tax Department by the 20th of every month, along with a completed NYS tax form called the MT-203. Aamir’s MT-203’s for the nine-month span falsely reported and remitted $100,188 in tobacco taxes, as opposed to the $6.9 million that he owed.

On March 12, 2014, Aamir, of Staten Island, and his corporation were arraigned on a felony complaint in Brooklyn Criminal Court, and Aamir was held on $100,000 bail. Today, Aamir and his corporation were arraigned on the 28-count indictment, and Aamir’s bail was continued.

The charges against the defendants are accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in a court of law.

The investigation was directed by the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force Senior Investigators Mark MacConnell and John Flood. OCTF’s Supervising Investigator is Cheryl Munoz, and Christopher Vasta is the bureau’s Deputy Chief. The chief is Dominick Zarrella. The investigation by the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance was directed by Senior Tax Investigator Kevin Barbitsch with the assistance of Forensic Tax Auditor Robert Bergeson and Investigator Brian Norris.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Deputy Attorney General Brandi Kligman of the Attorney General’s Organized Crime Task Force, which is led by Deputy Attorney General Peri Alyse Kadanoff. OCTF is part of the Attorney General’s Criminal Justice Bureau, headed by Executive Deputy Attorney General Kelly Donovan.