Republic Tobacco announces that the owners and operators of EC Wholesale located on Dalton, Ga., Irafanali Nisarali Momin and Shiba I. Momin, also known as Saguftabanu F. Momin, were indicted on 39 federal criminal charges on Dec. 19, 2019 in the Northern District of Georgia.
The Momins were charged with, among other crimes, allegedly conspiring to traffic and intentionally trafficking in counterfeit goods, including TOP and JOB brand cigarette papers.
The Momins were arrested by federal law enforcement agents on January 8, 2020 and were imprisoned. Federal prosecutors requested that that the Momins be detained for “the safety of the community” and because there is a “serious risk that the defendants (would) flee and obstruct justice.”
The court set a $25,000 bond for each defendant. Once the arrests were made, the government made the indictment public on Jan. 9, 2020.
The Momins were charged with 14 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, including TOP and JOB brand cigarette papers, 10 counts of smuggling goods into the U.S., 10 counts of receiving misbranded drugs in interstate commerce, one count of conspiracy, and two counts each of unlawfully procuring citizenship.
If found guilty of these crimes, each defendant faces up to a total of 395 years in prison and $31.35 million in fines. Moreover, if convicted, given the nature of the crimes, they are likely facing deportation after serving out their criminal sentences.
Republic Tobacco L.P. (Republic) has been actively and fully cooperating with law enforcement authorities in this investigation and others in Georgia and throughout the U.S., including working closely with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security.
Where appropriate, Republic brings to the criminal authorities evidence of the importation, distribution and sale of counterfeit products and we frequently
file civil actions as well.
Republic’s commitment to defending its brands, fighting counterfeiting and protecting consumers from misleading products is ongoing throughout the country. The company has engaged private investigators nationwide who coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Customs and other federal, state and local law enforcement and task forces where available.
It will continue to do so as it strives to remove these potentially dangerous and counterfeit products from U.S. markets.
Republic values your business and loyalty and will continue protecting its brands and your sales of its legitimate products. If you have any information relating to the importation, distribution or sale of counterfeit versions of our products, the company welcomes hearing from you. Please contact Sachin Lele, Republic’s General Counsel at (847) 832-1700 or at [email protected].