A Virginia cigarette company schemed with black-market sellers inÂ New York City to funnel tens of thousands of cartons of untaxed smokes into the city every month, officials charged Monday.
The city has slapped Cigarettes Unlimited with a racketeering lawsuit, claiming at least three of its Fredericksburg storefronts sold some 15,000 cartons a month to Big Apple bootleggers.
Sheriffs offices in both New York and Virginia cooperated in the investigation, according to the Brooklyn federal court lawsuit filed by the city Law Department, and seized nearly $1 million and two vehicles during a series of raids.
â€œThe City of New York is grateful to the Spotsylvania County Sheriffâ€™s Office for its diligence and its partnership with New York City in bringing these traffickers to justice,â€ said Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter. â€œWe look forward to continuing our work with Virginia law enforcement to curb the trafficking of untaxed cigarettes into our City, and to protect against those who try to defraud New York City and its residents.â€
City attorneys are asking a judge to order the company cough up the amount of tax revenue lost, $100 per every pack trafficked, and other damages.
Cigarettes Unlimited could not be immediately reached.