RALEIGH, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - A Florida tobacco company will pay a settlement to North Carolina via the United States government, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said Dec. 29.
Belcorp Tobacco, Inc. faces paying a settlement via the U.S., for selling illegal cigarettes to residents of several states in violation of the Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act. The company will pay back the settlement to 10 other states besides North Carolina.The U.S. government seized money from the company. The money was held in escrow, which was for the benefit of the states.
North Carolina filed a petition in U.S. District Court alleging the escrow funds' seizure wasn't a part of federal law. North Carolina will receive approximately $2,194,000 in the upcoming months as part of the settlement.
Belcorp Tobacco, which is a Florida tobacco manufacturer, allegedly sold cigarettes in North Carolina illegally. In 1998, the states reached an agreement called the Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies, but Belcorp is not a part of this agreement. The company pleaded guilty to mail fraud, fraud and wire fraud, which is related to any cigarette sales that are illegal.
“We’re working hard to make sure North Carolina gets its fair share in tobacco related cases,” Cooper said. “Thanks to good work in these complex cases by our attorneys, North Carolina will receive money that helps North Carolina’s budget and the citizens of our state.”