A Staten Island man with ties to Bristol has been convicted of tobacco smuggling, according to federal authorities.
Ramzi Al Najar, 43, owned and operated Capital Trade, Inc. on the 2000 block of Ford Road. The store was a tobacco wholesaler, selling items like cigars and chewing tobacco.
But authorities found Al Najar worked as part of a group to transport $40 million of tobacco from Pennsylvania to New York State.
He created false invoices and underreported tobacco sales to cover up his actions. United States Attorney William M. McSwain says Al Najar and his associates avoided millions of dollars in excise taxes to New York State.
“Tobacco is a product that poses serious health risks, and therefore it is heavily regulated by the government,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Here, the defendant attempted to skirt the system and cheat everyone who pays taxes on tobacco products. The defendant has to play by the rules, just like everyone else, or suffer the consequences.”
The conviction comes after a one-week jury trial. There is currently no date set for a sentencing hearing.