Father and son tobacco company owners sentenced to prison for conspiring to evade federal excise taxes on Dominican cigars


Date: June 1, 2023

Contact: newsroom@ci.irs.gov

Two tobacco company owners from the Dominican Republic have been sentenced to prison for their participation in a fraudulent scheme to avoid the payment of millions of dollars in excise taxes on imported tobacco products.

Remberto Antormachy Estrella Jimenez and Remberto Andres Estrella Gomez, both of Santiago, were the managing members of Dominican Tobacco Products, LLC—a Florida company that imported tobacco products, including large cigars and cigarillos, from the Dominican Republic through Miami. Dominican Tobacco Products, LLC was authorized by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) to import tobacco products.

Previously, Estrella Jimenez admitted that he partnered with his co-defendant father, Estrella Gomez, and a California tobacco distributor named Akrum Alrahib to fraudulently lower their costs by underreporting the Federal Tobacco Excise Tax that was due and owing on cigars their companies manufactured and imported into the United States. Over the course of several years, the conspirators consistently evaded taxes by concealing the price Alrahib actually paid for the cigars.

Alrahib sent Estrella Jimenez and Estrella Gomez's companies over $5.6 million in exchange for Dominican cigars, according to the indictment.

Estrella Jimenez and Estrella Gomez each pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Estrella Jimenez was sentenced today to a term of imprisonment of eight months. His father, Estrella Gomez, was previously sentenced to a 14-month prison term. In addition to a term of imprisonment, both Estrella Jimenez and Estrella Gomez were ordered to serve an additional term of supervised release and jointly paid more than $1.98 million in restitution. The sentences were handed down by U.S. District Judge Robert N. Scola in Miami.

Alrahib, Estrella Jimenez's co-conspirator, was charged in a separate case (19-cr-20165). He pleaded guilty, was sentenced to five years in prison, and was ordered to pay $7,207,970.66 in restitution by U.S. District Judge Rodney Smith in Fort Lauderdale.

U.S. Attorney Markenzy Lapointe for the Southern District of Florida, Acting Special Agent in Charge Kareem Carter of the IRS - Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Washington, D.C. Field Office, Assistant Administrator Carrie May for Field Operations, Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), and Special Agent in Charge Anthony Salisbury of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Miami, made the announcement.

IRS-CI, TTB, and HSI Miami investigated this case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Christopher Browne prosecuted it.