Huge fines for Four in tobacco busts

Four Individuals Fined $352,465 for Contraband Tobacco

    Ontario's Tough Tobacco Tax Laws at Work

    TORONTO, March 13 /CNW/ - Four people were convicted and fined a total of
$352,465 for Tobacco Tax Act offences in the Ontario Court of Justice in
Cornwall, on January 22, 2009.
    The following individuals were found guilty of charges laid by the
Ministry of Revenue's Special Investigations Branch:

    <<
    -   Claude Fortier of Cornwall pleaded guilty to possession of 270,000
        unmarked cigarettes for the purpose of sale. The Ontario Provincial
        Police (OPP) found the unmarked cigarettes when they pulled over
        Fortier's vehicle on July 15, 2008, in South Stormont Township.
        Fortier was fined $100,535 and must also pay $25,133 to the Victims'
        Justice Fund.

    -   Lance Loran of Rooseveltown, New York was found guilty of possession
        of unmarked cigarettes for the purpose of sale. The OPP, working with
        the Canadian Border Services Agency, pulled over a vehicle on May 12,
        2008, on Highway 401 East in the Cornwall area and discovered 219,800
        unmarked cigarettes. Loran was sentenced to 21 days in jail and fined
        $81,935. He must also pay $20,483 to the Victims' Justice Fund.

    -   Scott Bingley of Lunenburg, Ontario pleaded guilty to possession of
        300,000 unmarked cigarettes for the purpose of sale. The OPP
        discovered the unmarked cigarettes after pulling over a vehicle for
        speeding on Highway 401, in South Dundas Township, on February 25,
        2008. Bingley was fined $25,000 and must pay $6,250 to the Victims'
        Justice Fund. He also received 12 months probation, was ordered to
        keep the peace and not to possess any unmarked cigarettes.

    -   Troy Square of Cornwall was found guilty of possession of 390,000
        unmarked cigarettes for the purpose of sale. The unmarked cigarettes
        were found in a vehicle stopped by the OPP on November 22, 2007.
        Square was sentenced to 21 days in jail, must pay $144,995 in fines
        and pay $32,248 to the Victims' Justice Fund.
    >>

    In all four cases, the unmarked cigarettes were seized and later
forfeited to the Province.
    The Government of Ontario has many enforcement measures to discourage the
sale of contraband tobacco. The Tobacco Tax Act has been strengthened with new
inspection and seizure powers, new offence provisions, increased fines, jail
provisions, civil penalties, and provisions that permit tax investigators to
share intelligence information with police and other agencies that enforce
tobacco-related laws. Through steps taken in four of the last five Ontario
Budgets, the government has strengthened enforcement against the illegal
manufacture and sale of tobacco products.
    In Ontario over the past two years, approximately 62.9 million contraband
cigarettes have been seized by ministry investigators and inspectors.
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