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Kentucky AG obtains fine against tobacco company

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 14, 2014

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced a judgment on Wednesday against a Russell Springs-based tobacco manufacturer that allegedly violated federal contraband cigarette laws.

On Monday, U.S. District Judge Joseph McKinley approved a sentence of restitution and fines against Tantus Tobacco LLC for 2007 and 2008 incidents in which it allegedly falsified invoices and tax reports related to cigarette sales and purchases. Tantus and other companies located in Mississippi and Kentucky allegedly falsified the documents to significantly reduce their tax payments. Charles Wells, a former Kentucky cigarette wholesaler, previously pleaded guilty to related federal charges.

McKinley ordered Tantus to pay $260,000 in restitution to the state for taxes and attorney costs, including $60,000 to Conway's office. Tantus must also pay $490,000 to the federal government.

Tantus manufactures the 24/7 and Berley brands of cigarettes, in addition to other products. The company is not a party to the Master Settlement Agreement.

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