- Associated Press - Friday, December 23, 2016

ASHLAND, Ky. (AP) - Federal prosecutors say that the last defendant in a vast, $48 million cigarette tax fraud scheme has been sentenced, ending a case that stretched across the country and around the globe.

Kerry Harvey, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Kentucky, announced Friday that 54-year-old Anthony Cosica was sentenced to serve two years. Eight others, including three from Kentucky and two from Russia, are already serving sentences on charges of conspiracy, fraud and money laundering.

Prosecutors say that the group’s ringleader, John Maddux Jr., operated a mail order cigarette business from his Kentucky home and conspired with two men in Russia who shipped untaxed cigarettes through the U.S. mail to American homes. He served customers in all 50 states.

Prosecutors estimate the ring defrauded the government out of $48 million in taxes.

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