ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 14, 2017) – The Office of the Maryland Comptroller has once again received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from a North American government finance organization. The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) honored the agency for Maryland’s fiscal year 2016 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), marking the 37th consecutive year that the Comptroller’s Office has received the award.
Comptroller Franchot accepted the award on behalf of his agency, saying it validates the work done by his highly professional staff. “One of my top priorities is to keep our agency running in the most efficient and effective way possible, and it is an honor for our dedicated employees to be recognized with this prestigious award again,” he said.
The GFOA established the CAFR Program in 1945 to encourage and assist state and local governments to go beyond the minimum requirements of generally accepted accounting principles to prepare comprehensive annual financial reports that evidence the spirit of transparency and full disclosure and to recognize individual governments that succeed in achieving that goal.
The 2016 CAFR was judged by an impartial panel to meet high standards of the program, including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users to read the annual publication. For more information about the award, visit the GFOA website at www.gfoa.org.
CONTACT: Vicki Fisher, 410-260-7816 (office) or 443-534-6259 (cell)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 13, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot and Deputy Comptroller Sharonne Bonardi have announced that the Comptroller’s Office will host the North Eastern States Tax Officials Association (NESTOA) annual meeting in downtown Baltimore in early September 2018.
“I’m pleased and delighted that NESTOA has chosen the City of Baltimore for its training conference,” Comptroller Franchot said. “Coming to Baltimore will give tax administrators from the region an opportunity to experience all of the city’s wonderful amenities – restaurants, shops, museums, sports facilities, the Inner Harbor, Science Center and National Aquarium – and will allow Marylanders to showcase our state’s diverse culture and economic viability supported by local businesses.”
“As a native Baltimorean and member of the FTA’s Board of Directors, I am honored that the Maryland Comptroller will host the NESOTA regional conference in Baltimore City,” Deputy Comptroller Sharonne Bonardi said. “This is a wonderful opportunity to support the city’s economy and provide an engaging venue for the region’s tax commissioners to collaborate and share best practices for effective tax administration.”
NESTOA includes tax agencies in Maryland, the District of Columbia, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Philadelphia and New York City. NESTOA is one of four regions of the Federation of Tax Administrators (FTA), an association of tax agencies in all the states. The meeting is an opportunity for tax administrators to learn from one another and to improve the methods and efficiencies of tax administration. About 200 tax
administrators are expected to participate in the two-and-a-half-day meeting.
“Baltimore is one of our favorite cities for holding training meetings,” said Gale Garriott, FTA executive director. “The city is attractively priced — and that’s essential for a government meeting — it is easily reached from throughout the Northeast, and of course, there is a reason Baltimore is known as Charm City. Everyone enjoys having a few evenings in Baltimore.”
Media Contact: Joe Shapiro 410-260-7305 (office), 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (July 13, 2017) – A Bethesda woman tops the list so far this year of Unclaimed Property recipients by finding more than $100,000 in a bank account listed among the accounts published by Comptroller Peter Franchot. The annual list, which was published in the spring and distributed in newspapers statewide, includes more than 80,000 new unclaimed property accounts worth more than $61 million.
“I encourage everyone to check the unclaimed property insert or to visit marylandtaxes.com to look for your name,” said Comptroller Franchot.
This year, Comptroller Franchot appears on the cover of the insert in The Franchot Zone (or Unclaimed Property cache) full of possessions and financial payoffs that banks, insurance companies and financial institutions were unable to return to the rightful owners. Any of the goods not claimed by their owners eventually go to the state. Visit the Comptroller’s YouTube channel to watch his newest video (available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C5LayKI2wzE).
Along with the unclaimed property list, which is published annually as required by law, the Comptroller’s Office also searches tax records to try and locate property owners. In addition, the agency has a booth at the Maryland State Fair, and other events throughout the year, to allow people to check the unclaimed property database.
Marylanders also can check to see if their name is on the unclaimed property list through the Comptroller’s website. Here’s how:
• Go to marylandtaxes.com
• Enter your name in the agency’s database
• Claim your property
Financial institutions, insurance companies and corporations are required to notify the Comptroller’s Office of any property that has gone unclaimed, or without activity, for more than three years. This is usually wages, bank accounts, stocks or dividends, life insurance policies or from safe deposit boxes. When the Comptroller’s Office receives property that isn’t monetary, as required by state law, the items are appraised and the auctioned off on eBay (www.ebay.com/usr/mdcompfranchot). The proceeds are held for the owner in perpetuity. Funds are available to be claimed at any time, with no statute of limitations and are not subject to taxes.
Franchot urges anyone who finds his or her name on the list to contact his office at 410-767-1700 (Central Maryland), or toll-free at 1-800-782-7383, to find out how to reclaim their lost property.
The Comptroller’s Office honored nearly 43,225 claims totaling more than $62 million in Fiscal Year 2016. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has returned more than $585 million in unclaimed property. In total, the agency has more than 1.2 million accounts worth more than $1.5 billion in its Unclaimed Property accounts.
To search the Unclaimed Property database online, visit www.marylandtaxes.com.
Media Contacts: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (cell)
ANNAPOLIS, MD (June 20, 2017) — Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that the State of Maryland has received a $5.7 million rebate from U.S. Bank. The rebate is the result of 76 state agencies spending more than $286 million on small purchases through Maryland’s Corporate Purchasing Card program for the period of April 26, 2016 through April 25, 2017.
“Taxpayers want and expect us to do everything we can to watch out for their financial best interest and to save them money,” Comptroller Franchot said. “In my role as the state’s fiscal watchdog, it’s what my office does each day. The Corporate Purchasing Card program allows state agencies to make small purchases in an efficient and effective way, providing accountability and allowing vendors to be paid in a timely manner.”
Under this program, the Comptroller’s Office issues one payment each month to U.S. Bank for all card purchases made during the previous month. Merchants are paid directly by VISA, usually within two business days of the purchase, which is shorter than the normal 30-day payment cycle. U.S. Bank pays a rebate when the state reaches pre-set purchase volumes. This contract for purchasing card services was approved by the Board of Public Works in 2013, with U.S. Bank offering a higher rebate percentage than the previous vendor.
The State of Maryland first began using the VISA corporate purchasing card program in March 1997. Since then, the state has purchased approximately $4.1 billion worth of goods and services, while earning $56.9 million in rebates.
MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office), 410-212-9414 (cell)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (June 15, 2017) – Comptroller Peter Franchot is warning taxpayers about a new scam linked to the Internal Revenue Services’ Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS) in which fraudsters call to demand immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. The scam is being reported throughout the country.
In this latest scheme, a caller claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable.
The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when it is actually entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim also is warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.
“If you get a call like this, the best thing is to simply hang up. Do not share your personal or identifying information and do not send a prepaid debit card,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said. “My agency stands ready to help any Maryland taxpayer who gets a call like this. My agents are united in our goal to protect our citizens from con artists who want to steal your money and your private financial information.”
The EFTPS is an automated system for paying federal taxes electronically using the Internet or via phone and does not require the purchase of a prepaid debit card. Since it is an automated system, taxpayers won’t receive a call from the IRS. Taxpayers also have several options for paying a real tax bill – not just a specific one.
“This is a new twist to an old scam,” said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. “Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call.”
The Comptroller’s Office advises taxpayers not to reply to phone calls or emails asking for confidential information, most especially Social Security numbers, birth dates, salary information or home addresses. Maryland taxpayers may call 1-800-MD-TAXES or send an email to email@example.com to report a problem.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7438 (office), 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office), 443-924-1473 (cell)
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (June 8, 2017) – In his ongoing effort to combat tax fraud and identity theft, Comptroller Peter Franchot today announced that, effective immediately, he has suspended processing electronic and paper tax returns from Yawn Tax and Tech Services LLC, 605 Halifax Place in Upper Marlboro.
“We continue to be vigilant and resolute in our commitment to protect Marylanders’ financial information and the integrity of our tax system,” Comptroller Franchot said. “I want to commend my Questionable Return Detection Team as it continues to work tirelessly to identify these fraudulent returns that try to drain our state coffers and ultimately cheat all Maryland citizens,” he said.
Pursuant to his agency’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Internal Revenue Service, Comptroller Franchot has shared this information with other tax agencies. The Comptroller’s Office also has advised the Office of the Attorney General and the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation of the decision so that they can take any additional appropriate actions.
The suspicious characteristics detected on the tax returns prompting the determination included:
• Business income reported when taxpayers did not own a business.
• Refund amounts requested much higher than previous year tax returns.
• Inflated and/or undocumented business expenses.
• Dependents claimed when taxpayer did not provide required 50 percent support or care.
• Inflated wages and withholding information.
The total number of process suspensions stands at 98 tax preparation offices at 112 locations, accounting for tax preparers removed from last year’s list because they now are in compliance. Since 2007, the Comptroller’s Office has detected and blocked nearly 76,000 fraudulent tax returns worth more than $174.2 million.
Taxpayers should carefully review their returns for these issues and should be suspicious if a tax preparer deducts fees from their refund, does not sign their tax return, or fails to include their preparer taxpayer identification number “PTIN” on the return. In the event that a taxpayer suspects fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Office by calling 1-800-MD-TAXES (1-800-638-2937) or 410-260-7980 in Central Maryland or by emailing TAXHELP@comp.state.md.us.
Below is a list of the tax preparers the Comptroller’s Office has already blocked:
Anne Arundel County
Rightway Financial Services LLC, 3363 Sudlersville South, Laurel, MD 20724
A Year Round Tax Service Inc., 5820 York Road, Ste. T200, Baltimore, MD 21212
AO Tax Services, 2307 E. Monument St.
AO Tax Services, 3231 Belair Road
A&E Tax Services, 5013 Frederick Ave., Baltimore, MD 21229
B and B Tax Service, 4707 Harford Road
DE Brown, 36 E 25th St.
EB Tax Service, 2322 Monument St.
EB Tax Service, 1818 Pennsylvania Ave.
Eltonia Tax & Contract Service LLC, 8058 Philadelphia Road, Baltimore, MD 21237
EMACK Tax Service, 123 W. Saratoga St.
Express Tax Inc., 5501 York, Road, Baltimore, MD 21212
First Rate Tax Service, 28 Henley Ct., Baltimore, MD 21244
Hartley Financial Enterprises LLC, 4602 Hampnett Ave.
HRQT LLC, 2136 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21218
Liberty Tax Service, 3308 Greenmount Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 503 W. Lexington St.
Liberty Tax Service, 2401 Liberty Heights Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 1742 W. North Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 1808 Pennsylvania Ave.
Liberty Tax Service, 2039 W. Pratt St.
Loyalty Tax Services, 4602A Harford Road
Office Tax Solutions, 2230 E. Monument St.
Office Tax Solutions, 1439 W. Patapsco Road
On-Site Tax Services, 1629 E. Baltimore St., Baltimore, MD 21231
OSE Tax Services, 5006 Harford Road, Baltimore, MD 21214
People Tax Service (aka Neighborhood Tax Services), 3219 Belair Road
Precise Financial, 8601 Harford Road, Ste. B, Baltimore, MD 21234.
PROTAXEM, 3104 N. Greenmount SVE, Baltimore, MD 21218
Quick Tax Service, 1809 1/2 Pennsylvania Ave., Baltimore, MD 21217
Quick Tax, 2401 Liberty Heights Road, Baltimore, MD 21215
Quick Money Tax Service, 6628 Harford Road, 2nd floor Baltimore, MD 21214
Tax Rite Services, 3406 Belair Road
Fachel Tax Service, 6331 Belair Road, Baltimore
Samuel Tax Services, 1005 North Point Blvd., Ste. 728, Baltimore, MD 21224
Security Tax & Accounting Srv LLC, 1724 Woodlawn Drive, Suite 12, Baltimore MD 21207
TA Income Tax Service, 4833 Belair Road, Baltimore
Tax Maid, 2558 Pratt St., Baltimore, MD 21223
JMD Tax Service, 2700 W. Franklin St., Baltimore
Marcjeze Tax Services, 5864 B Belair Road, Baltimore
Bodmars Tax Service, 4903 Belair Road, Baltimore
MK Tax Services and Investment LLC, 1031 W. Baltimore St., Baltimore
Neighborhood Tax Services, also known as Royal Auto Sales N Neighborhood Tax or People
Tax Services at 3219 Belair Road, Baltimore and 3226 Belair Road, Ste. A, Baltimore
Tax Relief, 5601 McClean Blvd., Baltimore, MD 21214
Chimex Tax Service, 2654 Maryland Ave., Baltimore
Jovan LLC, 5225 Harford Road, Baltimore
Taxcare , 6711 Belair Rd, Ste. B , Baltimore MD 21206
Alleluia Income Tax Service, 1055 Taylor Ave., Suite 212, Towson, MD 21286
ARPL Tax Services and More, 6737 Edwards Ave., Windsor Mill, MD 21244
Hitchye Tax & Business Cons Svc, 6350 Frederick Road, Suite C, Catonsville, MD 21228
Monique’s Taxprep Services LLC, 4342 Tucker Circle, Halethorpe, MD 21227
Liberty Tax Service, 435 C Eastern Blvd., Essex
Liberty Tax Service, 201 Back River Neck Road, Middle River
Patricia’s Bookkeeping and Accounting, 227 Mysticwood Road, Reisterstown, MD 21136
Quality Tax Service, 6 Woodstream Court, Owings Mills, MD 21117
Robinson Tax and Bookkeeping SRV, 4812 Liberty Heights Ave., Gwynn Oak, MD 21207
REMG Inc., 8715 Windsor Mill Road, Windsor Mill
Tax Plus, 727 Northrop Lane, Middle River, MD 21220
Tax Rite Services, 90 Shawgo Court, Middle River
Phenomenal Tax Service Corp., 1055 Ingleside Ave, Ste. 100, Baltimore
Swift Pro Tax Service, 10 Pine Cone Court, Nottingham
District of Columbia
BKPR Management, 110 Q St., Washington, DC 20001
Taxtime LLC/Speedy Tax Service,1002 H St., NE Washington DC 20002
Fred Accounting & Tax Services, 760 Morton St. NW, Washington, D.C.
Swift Tax Service, 1012 H St. NE, Washington, DC, and 3905 Benning Road NE, Washington, DC
OFAB LLC, 3938 Minnesota Ave. NE, Washington, DC 20019
Abayomi Olobatuyi, 3310 Shrewsbury Road, Abingdon, MD 21009
Dem Tax and Accounting Services, 2200 Predella Drive, Silver Spring, MD 20902
Dieudonne Sossoukpe, 18825 Sparkling Water Drive K, Germantown, MD 20874
Global Alliance Solution LLC, 21304 China Aster Court, Germantown, MD 20876
Integrated Multi Services, 1620 Elton Road, Ste. 204, Silver Spring, MD 20903
Japrhispanic LLC, 8626 Flower Ave. 1, Takoma Park, MD 20912
Liberty Tax Service, 11262 Georgia Ave., Wheaton
Marylis LLC, 113 Ellington Blvd., Apt. 421, Gaithersburg, MD 20878
Max Tax Service, 1019 University Blvd., Ste. 102, Silver Spring, MD 20903
Metrotax Services, 2443 Linden Lane, Silver Spring, MD 20910
Money Back Tax LLC, 11120 New Hampshire Ave., Ste. 506, Silver Spring, MD 20904
One Vision First (OVF) Consulting LLC, 8120 Fenton St., Suite 301b, Silver Spring, MD
Broadview Advisors and Co., Inc., 8757 Georgia Ave, Ste. 440, Silver Spring
Tax4All LLC, 6507 New Hampshire Ave., Takoma Park, MD 20912
Prince George’s County
ALR Tax and Financial Services LLC, 76 Ritchie Road, Capitol Heights, MD 20743
Deldan Tax and Accounting Services, 9208 Fairlane Place, Laurel
Eze Tax Service LLC, 3601 Hamilton St., Hyattsville, MD 20782
Holmes Tax Services, 6495 New Hampshire Ave., Suite 120, Hyattsville, MD 20783
ICS Tax & Accounting Service , 8855 Annapolis Rd., Ste. 205, Lanham, MD 20703
Tax Relief Solution, 13042 Old Stagecoach Road, Laurel
KLS Tax Services, 18431 Shanna Drive, Accokeek, MD 20607
Liberty Tax Service, 8020 New Hampshire Ave., Langley Park
Liberty Tax Service, 5436 Marlboro Pike, District Heights, MD 20747
Irene’s Taxes, 4610 Winterberry Lane, Oxon Hill
Griffin Financial, 1424 Colony Road, Oxon Hill
J & J Tax Service, 17205 Summerwood Lane, Accokeek
STES Tax Service, 5510 Cherrywood Lane, Greenbelt, MD 20770
Tax Central USA, 5515 Livingston Road, Ste. 200, Forest Heights
The Tax Store 101 LLC, 1508 Kingshill St., Bowie
Taxpoint Solutions,1401 Mercantile Ln, Ste. 383, Upper Marlboro MD 20774
Vasquez Tax Services, 2340 University Ave., Hyattsville, MD 20783
MD Tax Solution and Multi Services, 212 E. Main St., Ste. 208, Salisbury, MD 21801
Charles Multi Services, 216 Carson Court, Pocomoke City
Evaniel Francois, 2124 Airport Road, Ste. 109, Naples, FL 34112
Eskindes Accounting and Tax LLC, 3379 Highway 5, Ste. K, Douglasville, GA 30135
JAE Establishments LLC, 3803 Gettysburg Road, Camp Hill, PA 17011
MSM DBA PTS Tax Service, 6790 W. Broad St., Douglasville, GA 30134
Sky Tax Service, 5981 Columbia Pike, Ste. 202, Falls Church, VA 22041
Trinity Supermarket Inc.,105 E. Pollock St., Mount Olive, NC 28365
United Tax Pro, 6969 Richmond Hwy, Ste. 204, Alexandria, VA 22306
Valentine Tax, 328 Jefferson Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11216
Verita’s Efile Service Inc., 3 Centerview Drive, Greensboro, NC 27407, and 5720 Alameda, Baltimore, MD 21239
If taxpayers want to check to see if the Comptroller’s Office is processing returns from a particular tax preparer, or on their status for a previously filed claim, they are asked to contact the Maryland Comptroller’s Office Ombudsman at 410-260-4020 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If taxpayers suspect fraud, they are asked to immediately report the issue to the Comptroller’s Questionable Return Detection Team at QRDT@comp.state.md.us.
MEDIA CONTACT: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305 office or 443-871-2244 cell
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 office or 443-924-1473
BALTIMORE, MD (May 23, 2017) – Combining Maryland’s proud heritage of and love for baseball and craft brewing, Comptroller Peter Franchot today introduced The Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard. This new summertime promotion encourages travel across Maryland to experience craft breweries and baseball-themed attractions while helping to grow the craft beer and tourism industries. Baseball & Brew is a partnership between the Brewers Association of Maryland, the Maryland Comptroller’s Office and the Maryland Office of Tourism, a division of the Maryland Department of Commerce.
Comptroller Franchot, industry partners and officials gathered at Peabody Heights Brewery in Baltimore to introduce the program and begin distribution of the Official Maryland Baseball & Brew Scorecard. “Maryland has a proud and rich heritage in both baseball and the brewing industries,” said Comptroller Peter Franchot. “This new Baseball & Brew Scorecard promotion encourages Marylanders and tourists alike to explore every region of our wonderful state and experience the sights and sounds of baseball and the taste of our award winning craft breweries.”
Ben Wu, Assistant Secretary of the Maryland Department of Commerce said, “Breweries are economic engines for the communities in which they choose to establish themselves.”
He noted that other small businesses such as food trucks, restaurants, boutique shops and artist studios tend to establish themselves around the breweries thus creating a thriving community that attracts visitors and improves quality of life in those neighborhoods.
“Baseball & Brew teams up two segments of the tourism industry that are already tightly intertwined,” said Kevin Atticks, executive director of the Brewers Association of Maryland. “Participants can use the scorecard to keep track of visitation to nearly 60 participating craft breweries in every region of Maryland and can win a ‘Grand Slam Maryland Baseball & Brew Experience.’”
Scorecards may be picked up at participating breweries and at any Maryland Welcome Center. Atticks further encouraged visitors to “hit a home run” on every trip by running the bases” 1st base, drink at a craft brewery; 2nd base, dine at a local restaurant; 3rd base, visit a unique attraction; home plate, stay overnight.”
Visitors are encouraged to share their experiences on social media using the hashtag #brewsandbasesMD.
About Maryland Tourism:
The Maryland Office of Tourism is an agency of the Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts within the Maryland Department of Commerce. Visitors to the state spent $16.8 billion on travel-related expenses in 2015. The Maryland tourism industry also generated $2.3 billion in state and local taxes, and provided Marylanders with more than 143,000 jobs with a payroll of $5.7 billion. For more information: visitmaryland.org
About Brewers Association of Maryland:
The Maryland brewing industry dates back to colonial times and is now one of the fastest growing segments of the craft beverage economy. The Brewers Association of Maryland, founded in 1996 is a non-profit, member based, trade association representing more than 70 breweries across the state. The mission of BAM is to grow, promote and protect the Maryland craft beer industry through marketing, advocacy & education. BAM is represented by the management group, Grow & Fortify. For more information: marylandbeer.org.
Media Contacts: Joe Shapiro, 410-260-7305 (office); 443-871-2244 (cell)
Alan Brody, 410-260-6346 (office); 443-924-1473 (cell)
WHEN: 3:00 PM Wednesday May 24, 2017
WHERE: Johns Hopkins University’s Charles Commons
3301 North Charles Street
Baltimore, MD 21218
The task force, chaired by Comptroller Peter Franchot and composed of 40 members representing key stakeholder groups within the beer industry, will perform a comprehensive review of the State’s antiquated laws that govern the manufacturing, distribution, and sale of Maryland craft beer. All meetings are open to the public.
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (May 11, 2017) — Agents from the Comptroller of Maryland’s Field Enforcement Division (FED) assisted Maryland State Police and the Henrico County (Va.) Police Department, as well as federal and state law enforcement agencies, in a nearly two-year investigation of illegal cigarette trafficking, ultimately involving a total of 600,000 cartons with a value of $30 million.
FED agents assisted Maryland State Police in the arrest of four men following traffic stops in Cecil, Harford and Prince George’s counties. Officers confiscated 23,840 packs of contraband cigarettes with a value of $153,767, representing a tax loss to Maryland of $47,680. More than 20 local, state and federal agencies were involved in the two-state probe, which resulted in 43 arrests and 743 indictments.
“I’m very proud of the work my Field Enforcement Division officers do each and every day to safeguard the State of Maryland and its citizens from those who try to cheat the system,” Comptroller Peter Franchot said. “Be it assisting other law enforcement agencies in a large investigation of this sort or catching fraudsters trying to take money out of Maryland taxpayers’ pockets, my team of investigators is vigilant in their quest to do what is right.”
Each arrest in Maryland and its documentation was forwarded to the Henrico County Police Department. The arrests in Maryland include:
Basem Noffal, 52, of Yonkers, N.Y., who was stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 9:43 p.m. Feb. 17, 2017, in Perryville, Cecil County. Noffal was driving a 2016 Ford F-150 pickup truck with a covered bed on northbound I-95. During the stop, Noffal was found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.
Noffal faces a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 11,450 packs of contraband cigarettes and the truck that was used to transport them. The seized cigarettes had a value of $73,852 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $22,900.
Noffal was taken before a Cecil County District Court Commission and released on bond. He had an initial appearance May 5 in Cecil County Circuit Court and a trial date has been set.
Adyl Bourzgui, 43, of Richmond, Va., who was stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 9:01 p.m. May 25, 2016, on northbound I-95 in Havre de Grace, Harford County. Bourzgui was driving a rented 2015 Nissan Pathfinder. During the stop, Bourzgui was found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.
Bourzgui faced a felony charge of transporting contraband cigarettes and a misdemeanor charge of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 6,900 packs of contraband cigarettes and the vehicle used to transport them. The seized cigarettes are valued at $44,505 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $13,800.
Bourzgui was taken before a Harford County District Court Commissioner and released on bond.
On July 12, 2016, Bourzgui was found guilty of possession of untaxed cigarettes in Harford County District Court and sentenced to 365 days with 363 days suspended, one year of unsupervised probation, $1,000 fine and $55 in court costs. The charge of transporting unstamped cigarettes was dismissed.
Mohamed Mohmoud Ould-Zeidane, 40, and Mohamed Bouke, 57, both of New York, N.Y., who were stopped by MSP for a traffic violation at 10:35 p.m. March 21, 2016, on northbound I-495 at U.S. Route 1, in College Park, Prince George’s County. Ould-Zeidane was driving a 2015 Ford Expedition. During the stop, both men were found to be transporting a large quantity of unstamped cigarettes.
Both men faced felony charges of transporting contraband cigarettes and misdemeanor charges of possession of contraband cigarettes. Agents seized 5,490 packs of contraband cigarettes and the vehicle. The cigarettes had a value of $35,410 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $10,980.
Both men were taken to a Prince George’s County District Court Commissioner and released on bond.
All charges filed against Ould-Zeidane and Bouke were dismissed. As of this date, charges have not been re-filed. Ould-Zeidane’s arrest was not part of the larger investigation.
For the current fiscal year, FED agents have arrested and charged 76 individuals for various tobacco violations, stemming from 82 infringements of Maryland’s tobacco laws. The arrests have resulted in the seizure of 103,070 packs of contraband cigarettes and the seizure of 73,760 sticks of Untaxed Other Tobacco Products (OTP). The seized items are valued at $730,159 and represent a tax loss to Maryland of $248,994.
MEDIA CONTACT: Barbara Sauers, 410-260-7438 (office), 410-212-9414 (cell)