The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Hope Carbone, age 72, and Donna Venturini, age 70, both of East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, were sentenced on August 5, 2022, by U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer P. Wilson to two years of probation for conspiring to evade federal excise taxes on imported large cigars.
According to United States Attorney Gerard M. Karam, Carbone and Venturini previously admitted to conspiring with Jose Dominguez, the owner of cigar manufacturer Victor Sinclair Cigars, to evade the excise taxes imposed on the importation of Victor Sinclair manufactured cigars from 2009 to 2011. Carbone and Venturini served as the U.S. importer for Victor Sinclair Cigars, which is located in the Dominican Republic. Through fraudulent invoices, Dominguez, Carbone, and Venturini collected approximately $3.9 million in excise taxes from U.S. purchasers of Victor Sinclair manufactured cigars. Of that amount, the co-conspirators paid only approximately $2.1 million to the government, retaining approximately $1.8 million for themselves. As part of their sentence, Carbone and Venturini were ordered to pay restitution.
Jose Dominguez pleaded guilty to conspiracy to evade federal excise taxes in June 2022. He is awaiting sentencing.
The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service – Criminal Investigation and the Department of Treasury, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Carlo D. Marchioli and Joseph J. Terz prosecuted the case.