Press Release

Press Release Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail for Evading $13 Million in Taxes Through Tobacco Import Scheme

Defendant Operated a Tax Evasion Scheme Through the Sale of Untaxed Tobacco Products
For immediate release:
3/15/2019
  • Office of Attorney General Maura Healey
  • Massachusetts Department of Revenue

Media Contact for Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail for Evading $13 Million in Taxes Through Tobacco Import Scheme

Alex Bradley

BostonA Rhode Island man pleaded guilty and was sentenced to jail in connection with operating a multi-million-dollar tax evasion scheme through the sale of untaxed tobacco products in Massachusetts, Attorney General Maura Healey announced today.

Tariq Mehmood, age 50, of Smithfield, pleaded guilty in Bristol Superior Court to charges of Tax Evasion (six counts), Money Laundering (three counts), and Conspiracy (one count). Judge Renee Dupuis sentenced him to two years in the House of Correction, with one year to serve and the balance suspended for seven years. In addition, he is barred from possessing a tobacco license, including any retail licenses, while on probation. Mehmood was immediately taken into custody after his sentencing. 

“This defendant orchestrated a major tobacco enterprise that cost Massachusetts residents millions of dollars in tax revenue,” said Attorney General Maura Healey. “Our office will continue to make sure those who do business in our state abide by our laws.”  

“The Department of Revenue remains committed to working with the Attorney General’s Office and regional counterparts in tackling the illegal tobacco trade, and recouping lost revenue on behalf of Massachusetts taxpayers,” said Department of Revenue Commissioner Christopher Harding.

Between 2013 through 2016, Mehmood led an enterprise that imported tobacco products from other states to distribute to retail stores across the state, which he stocked in a warehouse space in Attleboro. By intentionally failing to pay taxes on these products, he evaded more than $13 million in taxes to Massachusetts.

Mehmood also conspired with others to conceal the operation and evade paying taxes on his profits from the enterprise, and laundered proceeds of his tobacco sales through unrelated corporate accounts under his control that were associated with convenience stores and gas stations he owned. He was charged by a Statewide Grand Jury in 2018.  

This case was 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. The Massachusetts Department of Revenue, the Massachusetts State Police Illegal Tobacco Task Force, Rhode Island Department of Revenue Special Investigative Unit, the Rhode Island State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Revenue, and the Altria Brand Integrity Division provided critical assistance to this investigation.

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Media Contact for Rhode Island Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to Jail for Evading $13 Million in Taxes Through Tobacco Import Scheme

Office of Attorney General Maura Healey 

Attorney General Maura Healey is the chief lawyer and law enforcement officer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Revenue  

The Massachusetts Department of Revenue manages state taxes and child support. We also help cities and towns manage their finances.
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