Dominican Cigarmaker José Dominguez Arrested Over Tax Evasion


José Dominguez, the Dominican cigarmaker behind the Victor Sinclair brand and others, was arrested yesterday in Santiago, Dominican Republic on charges of tax fraud.

Those charges were announced in 2017 when a U.S. grand jury indicted Dominguez, 54, after prosecutors alleged he failed to pay $1.8 million of federal excise taxes, more commonly referred to in the cigar industry as SCHIP.


All cigars imported to the U.S. are subject to a tax of 52.75 percent of the wholesale price, capped at 40.26 cents per cigar. Prosecutors allege that Dominguez underreported the value of cigars he was importing from 2009-2012.

According to Hoy Digital, a Dominican newspaper, Dominguez was arrested yesterday by the La Dirección Nacional de Control de Drogas under orders from the Dominican Supreme Court of Justice, which was responding to a request from the U.S. government.

If convicted, Dominguez could serve up to five years in prison and a fine.

Outside of the original indictment (below), most of the case is sealed. The last document update occurred on July 19, 2019, though like most of the documents filed with the court, it is sealed.

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Charlie Minato
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I am an editor and co-founder of Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.

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