Man sentenced for $5 million in tax evasion linked to illegal importation of 4.2 million cigarettes

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A man has been convicted of money laundering linked to the illegal importation of millions of cigarettes.

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A man has been convicted of money laundering linked to the illegal importation of millions of cigarettes.

A man has been convicted in a $5 million tax evasion case linked to the illegal importation of 4.2 million cigarettes.

Hoong Ping Lee was arrested in September 2020 and sentenced in 2021 after millions of cigarettes were found hidden in building materials imported from Malaysia.

The 38-year-old was sentenced to two years and four months in prison on Friday for customs revenue fraud and money laundering by Auckland District Court.

His 32-year-old accomplice, Qiaoye Wang, was sentenced in May to six months of house arrest for defrauding customs revenue.

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They had previously been convicted of evading a total of $4,946,605.90 million in taxes.

Customs said its investigators searched the men’s homes in 2020, seizing around $34,000 in cash and other evidence of cigarette sales.

The cigarettes were found inside building materials.

customs/provided

The cigarettes were found inside building materials.

Searches were also carried out at properties in Mt Roskill, Flat Bush and Albany.

Customs Investigations Officer Cam Moore said the conviction showed that organized crime groups view large-scale tobacco smuggling as a profitable crime.

“Criminals who smuggle tobacco can expect to lose their ill-gotten gains and face serious criminal charges,” he said.

“These convictions show that Customs will do everything possible to disrupt the illicit cigarette trade and seize the proceeds of crime. We are fully focused on disrupting and dismantling criminal networks in the tobacco black market. »


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