Michigan State Police say enough is enough; begin cracking down on tobacco fraud
5:30 PM, Mar 25, 2013
LANSING (WXYZ) - On Monday, the Michigan State Police announced the results of a statewide crackdown on businesses violating the Tobacco Products Tax Act (Public Act 327 of 1993).
Investigators conducted more than 260 inspections of businesses during the month of January.
During their crackdown, troopers discovered a rap sheet of violations at businesses including some right here in Metro Detroit. In one stop, troopers found a business owner operating as a licensee without a proper license, a smoke shop mixing tobacco to create its own blends and manual cigarette-rolling machine.
On the west side of the state, troopers visited a store only to find the owner of the shop was selling hundreds of counterfeit name-brand items.
Some of that stuff included hats, jackets, shoes, sunglasses, purses, jewelry and colored contact lenses. MSP estimates the value of the counterfeit merchandise at more than $95,000.
After a month long investigation, which included inspecting a total of 264 stores Michigan State troopers seized $116,750 in illegal tobacco products and more than $169,000 in counterfeit non-tobacco property.
MSP says in total more than $286,300 was seized as part of their statewide inspections.
Every year, the state of Michigan loses millions of dollars in potential revenue. It's against Michigan Law to possess, acquire, transport or sell any quantity of untaxed tobacco unless properly licensed.