A Russell County cigarette manufacturer paid $750,000 this week after pleading guilty to conspiring to engage in contraband-cigarette trafficking, according to U.S. Attorney David J. Hale in Louisville.
Hale announced the payment from Tantus Tobacco LLC in a news release Tuesday.
Tantus admitted that in 2008, it sold cigarettes to Charles Wells, a distributor in Hopkinsville, but helped create false documentation that it had sold the cigarettes to Jerry Burke, a wholesaler in Tupelo, Miss., according to a court document.
That allowed Tantus to avoid paying into an escrow account that was required under the 1990s settlement of state lawsuits against cigarette makers.
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The payment from Tantus consisted of $200,000 to Kentucky; $60,000 to the office of Attorney Jack Conway; and $490,000 to the federal government.
As part of the company's plea deal, charged were dropped against Tantus owner David Brian Cooper and attorney George Bertram.
Tantus was implicated in a larger investigation of efforts to avoid payments on cigarettes.
Wells, Burke and Burke's partner, Randy Benham, also pleaded guilty in the case.
Tantus makes Berkley brand cigarettes.