Google Answers Logo
View Question
 
Q: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342 ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Question  
Subject: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342
Category: Relationships and Society > Law
Asked by: bachii11-ga
List Price: $20.00
Posted: 26 Jul 2005 13:00 PDT
Expires: 25 Aug 2005 13:00 PDT
Question ID: 548166
I regularly purchase my smoking cigrattes online from www.cigmall.net.
This time I got my 2 cartons of Marlboro red on time. After 10 days I
got a letter from Department of Justice, USA saying i used or acquired
in violation of title 18 usc, section 1341, 1343 and 1342.
Administrative forfeiture proceeding have commenced in accordance with
the provisions of 18 U.S.C. 3051(c), 19 U.S.C 1602-1618 and 18 U.S.C.
983.

It gives me 3 options: 
1) You may contest the seizure and forfeiture of the subject property
in US District Court by filling a claim
2) You may consent to the forfeiture of the property through the
administrative process and seek equitable relief from the forfeiture
by filing a petition for remission or mitigation of forfeiture.
3) You may choose to take no action regarding the seizure and
forfeiture of the above listed assets. If so, no further contact with
our office is necessary.

The value they say is $20. I get each carton for $12.50 + $4 shipping
on Each Carton. My next cartons of 2 from
www.indonesianclovecigarettes.com
When i go online to check the status it shows : Inbound in Customs.

I am freaked out, Dont know what to do next. Please guide ASAP. Will
increase the price if necessary
Answer  
Subject: Re: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342
Answered By: journalist-ga on 26 Jul 2005 14:01 PDT
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
 
Greetings Bachii11,

I'd be freaked out as well!  But calm down a bit: you may have to pay
a small fine if you just bought these cigarettes for *personal* use.

Here is an explanation of the codes so you can decide how you want to
proceed in reply to the letter:  Section 1341 relates to mail fraud
(cigarettes mailed to you), section 1343 relates to wire fraud
(cigarettes purchased over the Internet), and section 2342 relates to
unlawful acts.

1341 and 1343
"(1) ?racketeering activity? means...(B) any act which is indictable
under any of the following provisions of title 18, United States
Code...section 1341 (relating to mail fraud), section 1343 (relating
to wire fraud)"
http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00001961----000-.html

and this, continuing
"(2) ?State? means any State of the United States, the District of
Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, any territory or possession
of the United States, any political subdivision, or any department,
agency, or instrumentality thereof;
(3) ?person? includes any individual or entity capable of holding a
legal or beneficial interest in property;
(4) ?enterprise? includes any individual, partnership, corporation,
association, or other legal entity, and any union or group of
individuals associated in fact although not a legal entity;
(5) ?pattern of racketeering activity? requires at least two acts of
racketeering activity, one of which occurred after the effective date
of this chapter and the last of which occurred within ten years
(excluding any period of imprisonment) after the commission of a prior
act of racketeering activity"

Section 2342
TITLE 18 > PART I > CHAPTER 114 >  2342 
 2342. Unlawful acts
"(a) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly to ship, transport,
receive, possess, sell, distribute, or purchase contraband
cigarettes."
http://straylight.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00002342----000-.html


So, what appears to have happened is this: you purchased untaxed
cigarettes over the Internet that were mailed to you, and the
government has acquired your contact info from the company under
investigation.


FORFEITURE

Title 18, 983

 983. General rules for civil forfeiture proceedings
Release date: 2004-08-06 
(a) Notice; Claim; Complaint.? 
(1) 
(A) 
(i) Except as provided in clauses (ii) through (v), in any nonjudicial
civil forfeiture proceeding under a civil forfeiture statute, with
respect to which the Government is required to send written notice to
interested parties, such notice shall be sent in a manner to achieve
proper notice as soon as practicable, and in no case more than 60 days
after the date of the seizure.
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00000983----000-.html 

Title 18, 3051(c)
(c) 
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), and except to the
extent that such provisions conflict with the provisions of section
983 of title 18, United States Code, insofar as section 983 applies,
the provisions of the Customs laws relating to?
(A) the seizure, summary and judicial forfeiture, and condemnation of property; 
(B) the disposition of such property; 
(C) the remission or mitigation of such forfeiture; and 
(D) the compromise of claims, 
http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode18/usc_sec_18_00003051----000-.html

Title 19, 1602 - 1618
?1602. Seizure; report to customs officer 
?1603. Seizure; warrants and reports 
?1604. Seizure; prosecution 
?1605. Seizure; custody; storage 
?1606. Seizure; appraisement 
?1607. Seizure; value $500,000 or less, prohibited articles,
transporting conveyances
?1608. Seizure; claims; judicial condemnation 
?1609. Seizure; summary forfeiture and sale 
?1610. Seizure; judicial forfeiture proceedings 
?1611. Seizure; sale unlawful 
?1612. Seizure; summary sale 
?1613. Disposition of proceeds of forfeited property 
?1613a. Repealed.] 
?1613b. Customs Forfeiture Fund 
?1614. Release of seized property 
?1615. Burden of proof in forfeiture proceedings 
?1616. Repealed.] 
?1616a. Disposition of forfeited property 
?1617. Compromise of Government claims by Secretary of the Treasury 
?1618. Remission or mitigation of penalties 
Title 
(Visit http://www4.law.cornell.edu/uscode/html/uscode19/usc_sup_01_19_10_4_20_III_40_V.html
for live links to these codes)


If you did not know that these cigarettes were coming from a foreign
country (and thereby untaxed by the U.S. Gov't), then you may deny you
knew that. In any case, I would contact the phone number listed on
your letter, and speak directly with a government worker about this. 
You need to ascertain exactly how much penalty you will pay, if you do
have to pay one.


Please remain informed that I am NOT a lawyer and I do not give this
answer as legal advice. (Please see also the disclaimer at the bottom
of this page, "Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are
general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed
professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal,
investment, accounting, or other professional advice.")


You stated "The value they say is $20" but I'm not sure in what
context you mean.  Are they asking you to pay $20 for each carton (or
pack) of cigarettes you purchased from this cigarette mall?  I found
this reference in Washington state:
Penalties for possession of untaxed cigarettes
It is a gross misdemeanor for any person to possess or transport
untaxed cigarettes. If found in possession of untaxed tobacco products
the following penalties apply:
Seizure of the untaxed tobacco products
A remedial penalty of $10 per pack of cigarettes or $250 minimum
penalty, which ever is greater.
Plus cigarette tax and interest
Plus sales/use tax
It is a class C felony to be in possession of more than 60,000 untaxed cigarettes 
http://www.liq.wa.gov/tobacco/tobacco.asp


In what state do you reside?  For instance, here is an article about
Oregon residents who have to pay extra on the discount cigarettes they
bought for personal use:
http://www.no-smoking.org/may05/05-19-05-5.html - let me know and I
will check to see what is the penalty in your state,


Best regards,
journalist-ga



SEARCH STRATEGY

Searched title/code numbers

Request for Answer Clarification by bachii11-ga on 26 Jul 2005 18:02 PDT
Thanks for tons of information. Tommorow I will be meeting a lawyer at
the University where I study. $20 is the value they have put for the 2
cartons purchased. I get them for $12.50 per carton. I think I will
ask the lawyer more about how to go on this.

another thing i m worried about is that, another packets which i just
purchased after this whole thing happened also got hold on into
customs. I am worried about that now.

I have been a heavy smoker, and quiet often get my cigs from
cigmall.net , I dont understand how this suddently became such a big
issue.

Besides, I am on F1-Student Visa. Will this whole incident have an
effect when I apply for H1.

Thanks a lot

Request for Answer Clarification by bachii11-ga on 26 Jul 2005 18:11 PDT
I am in NY State. How much blame does the site owe in this case. I was
not aware where the stuff was coming from, as I just did a google
search for "online cigarettes" and just purchased them from top few
listed.

Thanks,

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 27 Jul 2005 16:02 PDT
Bachii11, you are wise to talk with an attorney, and try not to be
overanxious.  You stated above that you didn't know these cigarettes
were considered contraband, and you simply need to make that clear to
your lawyer so that he/she will know how to proceed.  This is
*probably* just a tax reimbursement to the gov't (and I've no doubt
there are countless other people receiving the letter you received). 
If the cigarettes you bought are non-taxed contraband, the gov't will
want their due taxes (and perhaps a fine), and that's *probably* all
there is to this matter. Your attorney will know the definitive
answer.

Regarding the F1/H1 status, I couldn't locate anything related to that
issue coupled with having to reimburse a tax, or paying a fine but not
from an actual conviction- again, I'm no attorney and this is not
legal advice, so please ask your lawyer about this matter.

I did see some info regarding H1/F1 and a student having committed a
misdemeanor at the same spot Denco-ga uncovered, but I would *guess*
that a payback tax, or even a fine, does not qualify as a misdemeanor.
 The info is here http://www.immigrationlinks.com/discus/messages/10/124.html?TuesdaySeptember1420040748pm
 (along with other questions about having committed misdemeanors and
felonies, and how that might affect immigration permissions).  The
term "tax" and "taxes" is not mentioned on the page - the posts
concern misdemeanor/felony concerns.


Please keep me posted on the resolution of this matter.  For now,
relax and consult with the attorney.  Regarding the additional
customs-held purchase, you have bought but have not yet come into the
possession of those cigarettes, so you *may* not face any problems
there since you haven't accepted delivery.  Again, a lawyer will be
able to thoroughly investigate the matter on your behalf.

Best regards,
journalist-ga

Request for Answer Clarification by bachii11-ga on 27 Jul 2005 18:47 PDT
I met the lawyer today. We did call on the number provided. They told
me its not at all my fault. They are after such websites. In all they
have send 3000 such letters. So I can relax and not to buy such stuff
online again.

So in future anyone gets such letters, relax and dont worry.

Clarification of Answer by journalist-ga on 27 Jul 2005 21:11 PDT
Bachii11, I am delighted that this affair has turned out to be
non-threatening toward your visa status. :)

I hadn't known a whit about these alleged contraband tobacco websites
until your question: I received an education as well.  I'm an
occasional smoker, and I once researched discount online sources for a
brand I enjoy, Vanilla Dreams Naturals, but I saw not much difference
in the online cost (after figuring in tax & shipping) versus local
cost.

I believe that your question will be perused by many a reader, other
people who may have not known they were purchasing untaxed tobacco
products; it may well serve as a popular warning to other tobacco
enthusiasts.  Thanks again for asking such an interesting question -
in doing so, you may have served to enlighten many people.  :)

Best regards,
journalist-ga

Best regards,
journalist-ga
bachii11-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Comments  
Subject: Re: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342
From: denco-ga on 26 Jul 2005 16:05 PDT
 
Howdy bachii11-ga,

To hopefully add to journalist-ga's answer, here is some more information.
The "Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers
are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed
professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment,
accounting, or other professional advice" applies.

"Credit Card Companies Snuff Online Tobacco Sales"
http://consumeraffairs.org/news04/2005/tobacco_ags.html

If you go to page 9 on the following message board, here is what people are
saying they found out by calling the "Asset Forfeiture and Seized Property
Branch" in response to getting what people are calling "The Letter."
http://smokinglobby.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&t=351

"The woman, whose name I did not get because I could not understand it, told
me to ignore the letter completely if I wanted to forfeit the cigarettes."

You might read the entire message board thread to get a better idea of what
others are saying about this whole thing.

I thoroughly agree with journalist-ga that you should just call the number
on the notice and ask them to explain the letter to you in plain English.

By the way, the $20.00 amount appears to be the value they are giving the 2
cartons of cigarettes, at $10.00 per carton.

Looking Forward, denco-ga - Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342
From: dgarrett20-ga on 09 Aug 2005 14:00 PDT
 
My cigarettes were confiscated at JFK Airport on 11/14/2004 and I just
now received my letter in the mail, same as yours. Don't worry about
it. They're just trying to make money off of you if you contest it so
don't. All the fees associated with it is not worth 2 cartons. They
took 10 from me and only claimed they took 4. Bastards.
Subject: Re: Title 18 USC, Section 1341, 1343 and 2342
From: dgarrett20-ga on 09 Aug 2005 14:05 PDT
 
Oh yeah, almost forgot. You can actually get your money back for your
purchases from your credit card company. VISA sent me some forms to
fill out and they refunded my money within a week.

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at answers-support@google.com with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  


Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy