RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — Prosecutors say a North Carolina federal grand jury has returned a sealed, indictment charging 24 people in a scheme to defraud the federal government and four states of millions of dollars in tax revenues from cigarette sales.
The acting U.S. Attorney for eastern North Carolina announced the the charges and says the defendants were arrested on Thursday.
A grand jury alleges that cigarettes were bought from wholesale outlets for future shipment to Virginia, New Jersey and New York.
The various charges carry fines of up to $500,000 and maximum prison sentences of 20 years.
A news release says the indictments were handed down last month.
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