Investigators Seize More than 200 Cartons of Untaxed Cigarettes Shipped Through Mail Bayside man faces felony charges
For Release: Immediate,
For press inquiries only, contact: James Gazzale, 518-457-7377
The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, United States Department of Homeland Security – Homeland Security Investigations – New York (HSI-NY), and the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office today announced felony tax charges against a Bayside man.
Jeong Min Park, 41, of 61-27 224th Street, Bayside, NY, is accused of attempting to evade the cigarette tax and possessing more than 200 cartons of illegal cigarettes that had been shipped through the U.S. Postal Service to a nail salon located at 2 Rockaway Avenue, Valley Stream, NY.
Investigators witnessed Park loading the packages into a vehicle and driving away. A mobile surveillance team then followed Park until Nassau County District Attorney investigators pulled him over. After securing a search warrant for the vehicle, investigators found 208 cartons of untaxed cigarettes.
U.S. Postal inspectors also coordinated with investigators from the Tax Department’s Cigarette Strike Force, HSI-NY, and Nassau County District Attorney’s Office.
“Attempts to sidestep cigarette taxes put honest business owners at a competitive disadvantage, tilting the balance in favor of those willing to break the law,” said New York State Executive Deputy Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Andrew Morris. “We’ll continue to work with all levels of law enforcement, including our partners on the national and local levels, to ensure these crimes don’t go unpunished.”
“This is not only illegally selling of cigarettes untaxed to make a larger profit, but they misrepresented the goods on the manifest in order to smuggle it into the U.S.,” said Angel M. Melendez, Special Agent in Charge of HSI-NY. “We continue to leverage our partnerships with other law enforcement agencies to investigate tax and customs fraud cases.”
“Through the collaborative efforts of law enforcement, the defendants scheme went up in smoke,” said Postal Inspector in Charge Philip R. Bartlett. “This arrest sends a strong message that law enforcement is always watching for those who cheat the system through the distribution of illegal cigarettes and contraband. We thank our law enforcement partners for their dedication in keeping the U. S. Mail and our employees safe.”
“Selling and possessing untaxed cigarettes cheats not only the state and city out of much-needed tax revenue, but also hurts law-abiding businesses,” said Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas. “Due to the combined efforts of NCDA investigators, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, the Department of Homeland Security and Postal Service inspectors, we’ve helped level the playing field for honest business owners and stopped an alleged tax cheat.”
A criminal complaint is only an accusation; the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
You can report tax evasion and fraud online at the Tax Department's website or by phone at 518-457-0578. The information is kept confidential. The Tax Department promptly reviews each complaint and takes corrective action when appropriate.