Flushing man busted in cigarette tax scheme


A Flushing man is accused of depriving the state in over $200,000 in cigarette tax revenue by selling untaxed cigarettes, the Queens County District Attorney’s Office says.

“Smokers may see untaxed cigarettes as a bargain, but it cheats everyone – other taxpayers and those who use state-funded programs that depend on tax revenue,” District Attorney Richard Brown said. “Cigarette smuggling to evade sales taxes is a multimillion dollar industry. It is a highly profitable tax-free, cash business for those involved. And the victims are taxpayers who must dig deeper into their pockets and pay higher taxes because of these kinds of schemes.”

According to Brown, Baocheng Zhang, a 33-year-old Flushing man, was observed on Monday, October 17 at 9:20 a.m. loading 22 cases of cigarettes into a Toyota Sienna, parked in front of 42-06 Bell Boulevard in Bayside. A warrant was issued and the subsequent search yielded 1,047 cartons of untaxed cigarettes.

Police also executed search warrants on storage units on College Point Boulevard, ultimately recovering an additional 2,152 cartons of cigarettes.

Zhang faces charges of second- and third-degree attempted grand larceny and violation of the New York State cigarette and tobacco products tax law. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison.

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