- Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
Media Contact for Man Indicted in Connection With Evading $13 Million in Taxes Through Sale of Untaxed Tobacco Products
Boston — A Smithfield, R.I. man was indicted in connection with running a multi-million dollar illegal tax evasion scheme through the sale of untaxed tobacco products in Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.
Tariq Mehmood, age 49, was indicted yesterday by a Statewide Grand Jury on two counts of Money Laundering. He was previously indicted by a Statewide Grand Jury in March on the charges of Tax Evasion (four counts), Conspiracy (one count) and Money Laundering (one count). He will be arraigned in Bristol County Superior Court at a later date.
Authorities allege that between 2013 and 2016, Mehmood imported approximately $17 million in tobacco products, including smoking tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and cigars from distributors in Pennsylvania. Tobacco products are subject to an excise tax when imported and sold and distributed in Massachusetts. Investigators allege that Mehmood evaded paying these taxes by failing to file any returns on the imported tobacco products and using warehouses in Rehoboth and Attleboro to covertly distribute these products to retailers.
Investigators allege that through this scheme, Mehmood evaded more than $13 million in taxes. The AG’s Office further alleges that Mehmood concealed some of the proceeds by co-mingling the money through cash deposits and other transactions in accounts in the name of unrelated businesses owned by Mehmood.
Representatives from the AG’s Office, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Massachusetts State Police, Office of the State Treasurer, Executive Office of Public Safety and the Department of Public Health are working together on the Illegal Tobacco Task Force, which was created to combat contraband tobacco distribution throughout the state through civil and criminal investigative and enforcement actions.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Edward Beagan, Senior Trial Counsel in AG Healey’s White Collar and Public Integrity Division with assistance from Financial Investigator Anthony Taylor of AG Healey’s Financial Investigations Division, Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts Department of Revenue, Rhode Island Department of Revenue Special Investigative Unit, Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and Rhode Island State Police, with support from Altria Brand Integrity Unit.