RICHMOND, Va. — A Virginia man has pleaded guilty trafficking in more than $7 million worth of cigarettes without paying sales taxes.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release that 60-year-old Bernard Ekelemu of Fredericksburg entered the plea Thursday in federal court in Richmond.
According to his plea agreement, Ekelemu directed another person to buy as gas station and for which he got a certificate exempting business purchases from Virginia sales and use taxes.
Prosecutors say Ekelemu bought more than $7 million worth of Virginia-stamped cigarettes and sold them to traffickers. Authorities say the traffickers sold the cigarettes on the black market in New York and other areas.
Ekelemu faces a maximum of five years in prison at sentencing on Aug. 16.