U.S. Supreme Court Deny Appeal on Wire Fraud Law for Currency Exchange Activities Concerning Evading Canadian Cigarette Excise Taxes and Vacate Decision against EC in RICO Cigarette Smuggling Case

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Friday, July 1, 2005
Bruce Zagaris
On May 2, 2005, the United States Supreme Court has given another victory to the Canadian government trying to enforce its excise taxes on spirits and cigarettes when it denied a certiorari application trying to appeal criminal conviction for a wire fraud scheme that deprived foreign governments of tax revenue. The same day the U.S. Supreme Court vacated dismissal of a RICO action brought by the European Community and various EC cases against RJR Nabisco for cigarette smuggling to evade excise taxes. The appellate court in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2d Circuit held that taxes owed to any government ? even if not yet collected ? are "property" of that government under the wire fraud statute. The appeals court denied relief to a petitioner who used the habeas corpus statute to appeal a conviction of conspiracy to launder the proceeds of a wire fraud scheme, based on currency activities trying to evade high Canadian excise taxes on tobacco products...[more]