Tobacco Wholesaler Sentenced for PACT Violation

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FILE PHOTO: The U.S. Department of Justice Building is pictured

BOSTON – A tobacco wholesaler from Connecticut was sentenced today in federal court in Springfield for violating the Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act.

Syed I. Bokhari, 57, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Mark G. Mastroianni to one year of probation. The government recommended a sentence of 18 months in prison. Bokhari pleaded guilty on April 19, 2022. In a related civil forfeiture action, Bokhari agreed to forfeit seized tobacco, currency, and other assets, which resulted in the recovery of $2,197,985 by the government.

Established in 2010, the PACT Act is designed to prevent the evasion of state tobacco taxes on cigarettes and smokeless tobacco. The PACT Act requires, among other things, businesses to file a statement with the state tobacco tax administrator prior to shipping cigarettes or smokeless tobacco into that state.

Bokhari owned and operated a wholesale supply business in Scranton, Pa., that sold smokeless tobacco to customers in Massachusetts. Between 2010 and June 5, 2012, Bokhari’s business shipped smokeless tobacco to customers in Massachusetts without ever filing the required statement with the Massachusetts tobacco tax administrator.

United States Attorney Rachael S. Rollins; Massachusetts Department of Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey E. Snyder; Joleen D. Simpson, Special Agent in Charge of the Internal Revenue Service’s Criminal Investigation Division, Boston Office; James M. Ferguson, Special Agent in Charge of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives, Boston Field Division; and Matthew Millhollin, Special Agent in Charge for the Homeland Security Investigations in Boston made the announcement. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher L. Morgan of Rollins’ Springfield Branch Office prosecuted the case.