Two Birmingham wholesalers arrested for tobacco tax evasion www.privateofficer.com
Birmingham AL Jan 8 2013 Two Birmingham business partners who own and operate a wholesale distribution company that supplies goods to retail convenience stores were arrested for tobacco tax evasion and criminal possession of forged instruments, the Alabama Attorney General’s office and Alabama Department of Revenue announced today.
Farhad Jiwani, 57, and Allaudin Merchant, 65, were arrested by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office. They are accused of evading more than $1 million in state tobacco taxes. Jiwani and Merchant are the vice president and president, respectively, and the owners of Joey Enterprises Inc., which does business as Northstar Wholesale, according to a release.
On Dec. 7, Attorney General Luther Strange’s office presented evidence to a Jefferson County grand jury, which resulted in an indictment charging the two men with:
• 44 counts each (for a total of 88 counts) of willful tobacco tax evasion with each month of tax evasion constituting a separate count, beginning in January 2007 and continuing through August 2010; and
• 77 counts each (for a total of 144 counts) of second-degree possession of a forged instrument, with separate counts for each commercial invoice presented to the Alabama Department of Revenue by the defendants.
If convicted, both men face up to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $100,000 for each of the 44 tax evasion counts, as well as a maximum of 10 years imprisonment and fines of up to $15,000 for each of the 77 class C felony counts of second-degree possession of a forged instrument. If found guilty, the men also could be subject to other financial penalties plus interest on the taxes evaded.
Source-Birmingham Business Journal