EHT Man Heading to Prison for Trafficking Nearly 150,000 Cartons of Contraband Cigarettes
An Egg Harbor Township man was sentenced to 57 months in prison today for trafficking millions of dollars in contraband cigarettes, laundering the proceeds through his store in Pleasantville, and participating in a $2 million mortgage scheme in New York.
44-year-old Muhammad Shafique previously pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy to traffic contraband cigarettes, conspiracy to commit money laundering, and conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud. Prosecutors say from June, 2010, through February, 2012, Shafique engaged in a large-scale operation to traffic nearly 150,000 cases of contraband cigarettes, which defrauded the state out of more than $4 million dollars in tax revenue. Shafique purchased the cigarettes from undercover officers and then laundered the proceeds through the bank account of Get & Go Supermarket in Pleasantville.
Shafique was also involved in a separate conspiracy to use stolen identities to fraudulently obtain mortgage loans on properties in New York. Using falsified documents, Shafique and other conspirators defrauded various banks and lenders out of almost $2 million.
In addition to the prison term, Shafique will also have to serve five years of supervised release pay restitution in the amount of nearly $5.5 million.