Store Owner Convicted in Cigarette Racket

A 45 year old store owner in Albany has been convicted of possessing illegal, tax free cigarettes. It was one thing when petty criminals were smuggling tax free cigarettes, but for store owners of allegedly reputable businesses to be getting in on the act seems as though times are getting stranger and stranger.

The man faces up to fifteen years in prison for a criminal enterprise that had $24,000 worth of phony cigarette products. What is a bit odd about this is that he stands to lose fifteen years of his life whereas another man convicted of similar crimes had helped to swindle his stated out of millions and was let off with little more than five years probation and a five thousand dollar fine. There seems to be some kind of judicial disconnect in terms of just what an appropriate punishment is for these cigarette related crimes.

It seems somewhat ridiculous that these cigarette based crimes are not facing an equal amount of scrutiny, regardless of whether or not they were committed in different states. The only moral that one can get out of this is that crime doesn’t pay, unless your definition of “pay” is to be fined and/or incarcerated.

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