Text Size:   A+ A- A   •   Text Only
Find     
Site Image
News
Attorney General Announces Convictions by Oregon Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force
04/22/2008
Stephanie Soden
Office of the Attorney General
Office: (503) 378-6002

Attorney General Hardy Myers today announced the conviction of the final four defendants in an organized criminal tobacco tax evasion operation that engaged in cross-border smuggling and the illegal distribution of untaxed tobacco products to retail stores throughout the state. The convictions are the result of the collaborative efforts of Oregon’s Tobacco Tax Compliance Task Force (TCTF) of the Departments of Revenue, Oregon State Police, and Department of Justice. It was established by the 2001 Oregon Legislature to enforce the state’s tobacco tax laws.
         
As alleged in the indictments and confirmed via guilty pleas, four family members, Gurdip Singh Sangha, Jarnail Kaur, Kulwinder Singh Sangha, and Kuldip Kaur, operating as J.K. Wholesale, engaged in a multi-year tobacco tax evasion scam for profit. These family members conducted their distribution business from their home in Estacada until December 2003, at which point they moved to Battle Ground, Washington, and continued to deliver to stores in Oregon.
 
Prosecutors confirmed that the operators of J.K. Wholesale made regular purchases of contraband tobacco products, sold those products to retail stores in Clackamas, Lane, Linn, Marion, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties, and then grossly underreported taxes owed the state.
         
As part of the investigation and prosecution, nine retail store operators have been convicted of crimes related to knowingly purchasing and reselling contraband tobacco products. Those operators and stores include:
  • Bahadur Singh – Center Markets in Dayton, Salem (17th Street store) and Willamina
  • Harjit Singh – Center Market in Willamina
  • Soni Singh – Center Market in Salem (12th Street store)
  • Satnam Singh – City Center Market in Dundee
  • Ranjit Singh and Jaswat Singh Sranna – Oregon Mini Mart in Lebanon
  • Dalvinder Singh – Tobacco World in Lebanon
  • Sukhjit Singh and Rajkiran Toor – Toor’s Texaco in Estacada
 
Under Oregon law, tobacco products distributors must be licensed by the Oregon Department of Revenue and pay a 65% tax on the wholesale cost on non-tax-paid purchases. Retail store operators are required to purchase tax-paid tobacco products and retain records of these sales for five years. Violations of these laws are felony crimes.
 
The individuals operating J.K. Wholesale were ordered to pay $551,443 in restitution to the Department of Revenue for taxes evaded in the scheme.