Cordova man to be sentenced for avoiding tobacco tax

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - A Tennessee man will be sentenced July 30 for his role in routing tobacco through Mississippi to avoid taxes, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports (

Randy Benham of Cordova, Tenn., pleaded guilty in 2009 in U.S. District Court to counts of fraud, false statements and money laundering.

Benham, along with Jerry G. Burke of Tupelo, Miss., helped run a scheme to dodge state and federal taxes. Others involved included a New York tobacco importer and a South Carolina warehouser.

By diverting cigarettes illegally through their Tupelo business, those involved underpaid taxes of $5.4 million to the state of New York and others, and $800,000 to South Carolina.

In late 2010, Burke was sentenced to 34 months and ordered to forfeit nearly $2 million and an airplane.

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