Jail Time for Contraband Tobacco

    Ontario's Tough Tobacco Tax Laws at Work

    TORONTO, April 7 /CNW/ - Three individuals were convicted and fined
$79,618 for Tobacco Tax Act offences in the Ontario Court of Justice in
Cornwall on February 26, 2009.
    Nicholas McKenna of Cornwall was found guilty of possession of 201,400
unmarked cigarettes and was sentenced to 30 days in jail. The Ministry of
Revenue's Special Investigations Branch laid charges following an incident on
August 5, 2008 when the Cornwall Community Police Service pulled over a
vehicle in Cornwall and found unmarked cigarettes. McKenna was also fined
$75,118 and must pay $18,779 to the Victims' Justice Fund.
    A 17-year-old female youth of Cornwall pleaded guilty to possession of
200,000 unmarked cigarettes. The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) pulled over a
vehicle on Highway 401 West in the Cornwall area on March 7, 2008 and
discovered the unmarked cigarettes. The court imposed a fine of $1,000 and six
months probation. The woman must also pay $250 to the Victims' Justice Fund.
    Jeana MacDonald of Cornwall pleaded guilty to possession of 530,000
unmarked cigarettes. MacDonald was driving a pickup truck on Highway 401 near
Summerstown on January 10, 2008 when it was pulled over by the OPP and the
cigarettes were found. MacDonald was fined $3,500 and must pay $875 to the
Victims' Justice Fund. She was also sentenced to 18 months probation and 100
hours of community service.
    In all three cases, the cigarettes were seized and later forfeited to the
Ontario government.
    The Government of Ontario has many enforcement measures to discourage the
sale of contraband tobacco. The Tobacco Tax Act has been strengthened with new
inspection and seizure powers, new offence provisions, increased fines, jail
provisions, civil penalties, and provisions that permit tax investigators to
share intelligence information with police and other agencies that enforce
tobacco-related laws.
    A proposed amendment to suspend the driver's licences of persons
convicted of certain tobacco offences under the act is contained in the Budget
Measures Act, 2009. The amendment must be passed by the Ontario legislature
and receive Royal Assent to become law. The proposed amendment is one of
several in the 2009 Budget which build on measures enacted over the past five
years to strengthen tobacco tax enforcement.
    Over the past two years in Ontario, approximately 66 million contraband
cigarettes have been seized by ministry investigators and inspectors.


    Read about Tobacco Tax

    Learn more about Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy

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For further information: Media Inquiries, Scott Blodgett: (416)
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