Jose Dominguez, 52, of Victor Sinclair Cigars has been charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States government of federal excise taxes.

According to an indictment issued by a grand jury, Dominguez and an unnamed importer failed to pay $1.8 million out of $3.8 million in excise taxes owed to the government for a period from 2009-2012.

The government says the company used fraudulent invoices to reduce the amount of money paid.

Federal excise taxes, commonly known as SCHIP, are charged on every cigar entering the U.S. Companies are subject to a 52.75 percent tax of the wholesale price of the cigar, capped at 40.26 cents per cigar.

If convicted, Dominguez could serve up to five years in prison and a fine. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joseph J. Terez is prosecuting the case for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Victor Sinclair is a Dominican manufacturer who makes a variety of cigars under both the Victor Sinclair and other names, many of which are sold as private labels to large catalog cigar companies. The company is best known for its Victor Sinclair, Don Rafael and Cuban Delights brands.

Calls to a member of the Dominguez family were not returned and a voicemail box was not set up.

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Charlie Minato

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 have written about the cigar industry for more than a decade, covering everything from product launches to regulation to M&A. In addition, I handle a lot of the behind-the-scenes stuff here at halfwheel. I enjoy playing tennis, watching boxing, falling asleep to the Le Mans 24, wearing sweatshirts year-round and eating gyros. echte liebe.