Who We Are
The Illegal Tobacco Task Force (Task Force) was created by the state Legislature in 2015 to address the problem of illegal tobacco distribution in the Commonwealth and the loss of millions of dollars of legitimate tax revenues to the state every year. The Task Force is co-chaired by designees from the Department of Revenue and the State Police and also consists of designees from the Department of Public Health, the Attorney General’s Office, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security and the Office of the Treasurer and Receiver General.
The current designees serving on the Task Force are as follows:
- John H. Hayes (Co-Chair) (Department of Revenue designee)
- Brian Connors (Co-Chair) (State Police designee)
- Nicole Nixon (Attorney General designee)
- Nicholas Ogden (Attorney General designee)
- Jackie Doane (Department of Public Health designee)
- John Melander (Executive Office of Public Safety and Security designee)
- Dan O’Neil (State Treasurer and Receiver General designee)
What We Do
While illegal tobacco distribution takes on many forms, the variations share one common element: failure to pay the required tobacco excise and sales taxes due on tobacco products sold in the Commonwealth. In many cases, individuals purchase tobacco products in bulk from states with no or very low tobacco taxes, transport those products to Massachusetts and sell them to unscrupulous Massachusetts tobacco retailers who, in turn, sell them to Massachusetts customers without charging the applicable Massachusetts tobacco excise and/or sales taxes.
The Task Force conducts targeted investigations and enforcement actions against violators of the Commonwealth’s tobacco laws through information sharing among member agencies. In addition, the Task Force assesses existing investigative and enforcement methods in the Commonwealth and in other jurisdictions and makes recommendations to the Legislature and policymakers for improvements to those methods.
The Task Force conducts open public meetings on a regular basis to discuss current issues relating to investigations and enforcement. As required by statute, the Task Force issues an Annual Report to the Legislature once per year.
- 5/18/23: Man Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay a Quarter Million Dollars in Tobacco Excise Tax
- 2/27/23: AG Campbell Secures Tax Evasion Charges in Major Black-Market Marijuana and Tobacco Trafficking Investigation
- 2/22/23: Man Pleads Guilty to Failing to Pay a Half Million Dollars in Tobacco Excise Tax
- 12/7/22: Two Worcester County Men Arrested for Trafficking Contraband Smokeless Tobacco to Evade $2 Million in Taxes
- 10/11/22: Four Men Sentenced for Tobacco Trafficking Conspiracy
- 9/19/22: Longmeadow Man Sentenced for Tobacco Tax Fraud and Illegal Check-Cashing Business
- 8/12/22: Tobacco Wholesaler Sentenced for PACT Violation
- 8/5/22: Four Defendants Charged in Connection With Major Black-Market Marijuana and Tobacco Trafficking Operation
- 4/21/22: Tobacco Wholesaler Pleads Guilty to PACT Act Violation
- 4/06/22: Two Charged in Connection with Failing to Pay Over $750,000 in Excise Tax
- 6/23/21: Milton Man Pleads Guilty to Running Illegal Tobacco Distribution Scheme
- 6/17/21: New Hampshire Man Charged With Trafficking Marijuana, Illegally Distributing Tobacco and Flavored Vaping Products
- 3/19/21: Springfield Man Indicted in Connection With Selling Untaxed Tobacco to Convenience Stores, Evading $4 Million in Taxes
For prior years, go to DOR Illegal Tobacco Task Force Past Cases & Reports.
For past years, visit DOR Illegal Tobacco Task Force Past Cases & Reports.