After a four year investigation, charges have been brought against fifty Georgia cigarette retailers and wholesalers alleging that they were part of a multi-million dollar counterfeit tax stamp scheme.
It is being alleged that the businesses would manufacture or purchase counterfeit tax stamps to avoid paying the 37 cent per pack State tax. Every pack of cigarettes that is sold has a tax stamp affixed to it to signify that the seller has paid this tax to the State. Thus, the retailers and wholesalers in this case are charged with affixing counterfeit stamps to the packs to avoid the tax. Interestingly, Georgia’s 37 cent tax is the 3rd lowest in the country.
Following the arrests in this case, the government will likely attempt to freeze the assets of these businesses as well as try to forfeit whatever property these businesses may own. As Atlanta federal criminal defense lawyers, we have represented many individuals and businesses in federal tax evasion cases throughout the State. We have been successful in two very recent cases in obtaining the return of significant amounts of money that were seized from our clients as well as keeping them from facing any criminal charges.
In a case such as this where assets and bank accounts are likely to get frozen, retaining an attorney as early as possible is essential. All too often, an individual or business gets deprived of the opportunity to retain the counsel of their choice as a result of the government’s freezing of their assets. In some situations, we are able to petition the court for the release of a limited amount of funds to be used for legal representation.
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