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NY Attorney General Sues UPS Over Cigarette Shipments

State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against UPS for allegedly shipping untaxed cigarettes across state lines.
State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against UPS for allegedly shipping untaxed cigarettes across state lines. Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Attorney General's office

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- State Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter filed a $180 million lawsuit alleging that United Parcel Service Inc. unlawfully shipped over 136 million contraband cigarettes across New York state in violation of federal and state laws.

“Our lawsuit alleges that UPS blatantly disregarded New York and federal tax and public health laws by shipping tens of millions of cheap, untaxed cigarettes to New Yorkers,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “We contend that UPS cost this state millions in revenue and is helping to make illegal, low-cost cigarettes available to our young people, who are disproportionally lured to smoking by lower costs. If we are committed to discouraging our kids from smoking, we must stop the flow of untaxed cigarettes. To limit smoking, which remains the No. 1 preventable public health crisis today, we must stop the flow of illegal cigarettes and enforce the law.”

The joint complaint against UPS alleges that between at least 2010 and 2014, the company made more than 78,500 illegal shipments of cigarettes to consumers and other unauthorized recipients in New York state, amounting to over 683,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes and a direct tax loss to the state and city of over $29.7 million and $4.7 million, respectively.

The joint investigation and lawsuit are based on subpoenaed UPS documents, which allegedly show that UPS made tens of thousands of shipments of cigarettes to New York consumers from unlicensed cigarette vendors located on Indian reservations throughout the state.

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