• June 15, 2024

Wholesaler Indicted in Fraud Scheme

 Wholesaler Indicted in Fraud Scheme

Credit: Postmodern Studio

Credit: Postmodern Studio

A federal grand jury has indicted the owner of a licensed tobacco wholesale business in Connecticut in connection with a tax fraud scheme.

A 10-count indictment by a New Haven grand jury charged Khawar M. Khokar, 35, with one count of conspiracy, an offense that carries a maximum term of imprisonment of five years; eight counts of wire fraud, each of which carries a maximum prison term of 20 years; and one count of engaging in an illegal monetary transaction, an offense which carries a maximum 10-year term, according to Vanessa Roberts Avery, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut.

The indictment was returned on May 15. Khokhar appeared Monday before U.S. Magistrate Judge Thomas O. Farrish in Hartford, pleaded not guilty, and was released on a $100,000 bond, Avery said, according to media reports.

According to the indictment and statements made in court, Khokhar operated Smokin’ Wholesale LLC, a Connecticut-licensed tobacco wholesale business that acquired smokeless tobacco and other tobacco products from out-of-state distributors, including businesses in Pennsylvania and Illinois, and sold the products to retail merchants in Connecticut.

For roughly two years beginning around May 2017, Khokhar and Smokin’ Wholesale purchased about $2 million in tobacco products from the distributors, but failed to report accurately to the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services the value of the products imported into the state, and failed to pay to the state the associated tobacco taxes owed.

Through this scheme, Khokhar and others caused Connecticut to suffer a tax loss around $1 million, Avery said.