The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance suspended the registration required for a Putnam County gas station to sell tobacco products after agents with the department’s Criminal Investigations Division discovered 21 cartons of contraband cigarettes.
The illegal cigarettes, bearing two different counterfeit New York State tax stamps, were seized after a routine cigarette inspection at the Citgo Mart, Inc., 1481 Route 22, in Brewster.
The store’s owner, Mohamed Aljahim, 36, of 45 Decan Smith Hill Road, Patterson, was charged with one felony and one misdemeanor. The defendant is scheduled to appear in court later this month.
“The charges in this case serve as a reminder to all shop owners across the state that selling untaxed cigarettes, no matter how large or small the quantity, is a serious crime that won’t be tolerated,” said Acting Commissioner Nonie Manion. “We will continue to work with prosecutors and all levels of law enforcement as we pursue these cases.” All cigarettes for retail sale in New York State must be purchased by a licensed distributor, and retail dealers must be in possession of purchase invoices showing that the taxes on the cigarettes have been paid. Those found in possession of untaxed cigarettes can face fines of up to $600 per carton as well as a prison sentence.
A criminal complaint is only an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The case will be prosecuted by the Putnam County District Attorney’s Office.
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