Man Charged With Cash Laundering in Alleged Tobacco Smuggling Scheme

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A man accused of smuggling truckloads of tobacco from Pennsylvania to the Los Angeles-area pleaded not guilty today to money laundering and tax-related charges.

Tamur Rajput, the 26-year-old owner of now-shuttered TAS Distributions in Walnut, is accused of selling more than $2 million worth of tobacco, but reporting less than $9,000 to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration, allegedly evading nearly $650,000 in excise tax, according to the California Attorney General’s Office.

An investigation by the multi-agency Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy (TRUE) Task Force allegedly showed that Rajput smuggled truckloads of tobacco from at least 2017 to 2018, according to the Attorney General’s Office.

Rajput is charged with six felony counts of money laundering and one felony count of filing a false sales tax return, along with a white collar crime enhancement and money laundering enhancements.

“When people choose to bypass our laws and cheat the system, they take money away from California’s public services and shift a greater burden on our taxpayers to pay for our schools, hospitals and public safety,” Attorney General Xavier Becerra said in a statement. “Through our TRUE Task Force, the California Department of Justice is always ready to enforce our laws against bad actors.”

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