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Crime & Cases November 30, 2012  RSS feed


Sold Smuggled Smokes In Flushing

A mother and son from Flushing have been charged with various violations of the New York State Tax Laws following the seizure of approximately 677 cartons of untaxed Asian cigarettes and $132,000 in cash from a grocery store, garage and bank in their neighborhood.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendant as Ying-Jian Lin, 48, and her son, Xiao Lin, 23, both of Sanford Avenue in Flushing. They were arraigned last Tuesday night, Nov. 20, in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging them with various violations of New York State Tax Law 1814 (Cigarettes and Tobacco Tax).

The Lins, who face up to four years in prison if convicted, were released on their own recognizance and ordered to return to court on Jan. 8, 2013.

“Cigarette smuggling to evade state and local taxes is a multimillion dollar industry. It is a highly profitable tax-free cash business for those involved in it. However, it cheats taxpayers who must dip into their pockets to pay higher taxes. And it cheats the government as well by fueling an underground economy which does not pay much needed state and city taxes,” Brown said in a statement. “In [this] case, it is alleged that the defendants were seeking to shortchange New York State and New York City out of approximately $45,000 in tax revenue from yesterday’s seizure alone. In addition, it is unlawful to sell such Asian brand cigarettes in New York or the United States because they do not carry the required surgeon general warnings.”

According to the criminal charges, during an investigation conducted by the Queens District Attorney’s office in recent weeks, it is alleged that Xiao Lin was repeatedly observed entering a garage on Maple Avenue in Queens and removing cartons of untaxed Asian brand cigarettes. He allegedly transported them to a small grocery store at 41-82 Main St. in Queens, where co-defendant Ying-Jian Lin worked and was observed selling the untaxed cigarettes on several occasions.

In executing two court-authorized search warrants last Tuesday, detectives assigned to District Attorney Brown’s Detective Bureau allegedly recovered a total of 610.3 cartons of assorted untaxed Asian brand cigarettes from the Maple Avenue garage and 66.9 cartons of similar untaxed cigarettes from the Main Street grocery store, as well as a total of $2,405 in cash and a safe deposit key.

Finally, it is alleged that the safe deposit key led detectives today to the China Trust Bank, located at 41- 99 Main St. in Flushing. The execution of a court-authorized search warrant on the safe deposit box al- legedly yielded an additional $129, 970 in cash (mostly $100 and $50 bills).

The arrests are just the latest results brought about by the District Attorney’s Crimes Against Revenue Unit (CARU) which proactively investigates and prosecutes individuals and businesses that deliberately fail to pay tax obligations associated with legal and illegal activities. Since CARU was established in April 2011, more than 8.5 million untaxed cigarettes have been seized, forfeited, and surrendered.

The investigation was conducted by Detectives Jeffrey Boyce. Joseph Brancaccio, John Keeley, David Matos and John Warner, under the supervision of Sgt. Liz Curcio and Lt. Franco Russo, and the overall supervision of Chief Investigator Lawrence J. Festa and Deputy Chief Investigator Albert D. Velardi.

Brown also thanked Special Agent David Mondanaro of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Customs and Border Protection, and Senior Investigator Kevin Barbitsch, of the state Department of Taxation and Finance, for their assistance in the investigation.

Assistant District Attorneys Andrew

H. Kaufman, chief of the Crimes Against Revenue Unit, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Anthony M. Communiello, Bureau chief of the District Attorney’s Special Proceedings Bureau, and Oscar W. Ruiz, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.

It was noted that a criminal complaint is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.