Orlando Man Arrested for Importing Non-Taxed Tobacco Products
January 4, 2013
TALLAHASSEE - The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) today announced the arrest of Sameer Vali Motlani, on charges he imported non-taxed cigarettes and tobacco products for resale in Orlando. At the time of arrest, agents with the Department’s Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco (ABT) seized more than 325,000 packs of untaxed cigarettes and more than 500,000 pouches of loose tobacco.
Motlani, 65, will be charged with conspiracy to evade cigarette taxes, evasion of cigarette taxes, possession or distribution of unstamped cigarettes and unlawful use of a two-way communication device to facilitate the commission of a felony. All four charges are third-degree felonies punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of $5,000. Motlani has also been pursued for similar charges in Canada.
The investigation has been ongoing for more than a year and was a result of information the agency received from the U.S. Postal Inspectors Office. Motlani was booked into the Orange County Jail. The U.S. Postal Inspectors Office, U.S. Customs (ICE) and the Food and Drug Administration assisted throughout the operation.
The Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco is charged with keeping alcohol and tobacco out of the hands of underage persons, ensuring that licensed establishments are in compliance with the laws and rules regulating the industry in Florida and collecting taxes and fees related to these industries.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s mission is to license efficiently and regulate fairly. The Department licenses and regulates more than one million businesses and professionals ranging from hotels and restaurants, real estate agents and certified public accountants to veterinarians, contractors and cosmetologists. For more information, please visit www.MyFloridaLicense.com.
More information about DBPR is available online at www.myfloridalicense.com. Also, follow @FloridaDBPR on Twitter or Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation on Facebook for updates about license cycles, events and other important news.