Legal professional Basic Becerra pronounces expenses of tobacco smuggling in Southern California

SACRAMENTO – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced today that Tamur Rajput was charged with alleged money laundering and false tax returns in connection with tobacco smuggling. A Multiagency Tax Recovery investigation in the Underground Economy (TRUE) Task Force found that Rajput smuggled truckloads of tobacco from Pennsylvania to California from at least 2017 to 2018. Rajput pleaded not guilty to the Los Angeles District Supreme Court today.

“When people choose to bypass our laws and defraud the system, they are stealing money from California’s public services and placing greater burden on our taxpayers to pay for our schools, hospitals and public safety,” said Attorney General Becerra. “Through our TRUE task force, the California Department of Justice is always ready to enforce our laws against bad actors.”

In 2018, TRUE initiated an investigation into alleged imports of contraband by TAS Distributions in Los Angeles County into California. During the course of the investigation, it was found that TAS Distributions owner Tamur Rajput was smuggling tobacco from Pennsylvania into the LA area. In 2017, Rajput reportedly sold over $ 2 million worth of tobacco, but reported less than $ 9,000 to the California Department of Taxes and Fee Management – escaping nearly $ 650,000 in excise duties.

In January, Rajput was charged with filing false excise tax returns and money laundering on a seven-digit complaint for allegedly depositing more than $ 1.9 million in multiple bank accounts from the sale of contraband

The TRUE Task Force was established to ensure multi-agency collaboration and combat wage theft, tax evasion and other crimes in the underground economy. The task force consists of attorneys, investigators, and specialty agents from the California Department of Justice, the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, the California Franchise Tax Board, and the California Department of Employment Development.

It is important to note that every defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

You can find a copy of the complaint here.

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February 13, 2021, 05:22 GMT

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