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DA Budelmann: Convictions on tax, cigarette fraud in Cayuga Co.

District Attorney Jon E. Budelmann announced that following months of investigation and prosecution, three agencies working together resulted in a conviction on several charges.

Budelmann says Timothy W. Heburn, Jr., of Utica has been convicted of two felony-level crimes relating to tax evasion and tax fraud in Cayuga County Court.

The case was prosecuted through Cayuga County’s NYS Crimes Against Revenue Program Grant at no cost to taxpayers.

Timothy Heburn’s trial was scheduled to begin this morning, but instead he entered guilty pleas to both felony counts in his indictment.

The first count, evading or defeating cigarette tax, is a class “D” felony. Heburn admitted he possessed and transported over 38,000 untaxed, unstamped cigarettes. He was apprehended with more than 190 cartons in his red minivan in the early hours of August 4, 2017 on the NYS Thruway (Interstate Route 90) in the Town of Brutus, Cayuga County.

The other felony he plead guilty to was fourth-degree criminal tax fraud, a class “E” felony. The tax owed on the cigarettes was in excess of $8,000, which Heburn never paid. As a condition of his sentence, Heburn tendered full restitution for the taxes owed. Acting Cayuga County Judge Mark H. Fandrich then sentenced Heburn to a 3-year conditional discharge with the requirement he pay an additional fine of $2,000.00.

The Cayuga County DA’s Office, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance, and the New York State Police worked in concert on the Heburn matter since November of 2017. Assistant District Attorney Jesse M. Eshkol, who served as lead prosecutor, was eager to present the felony cases to a jury, but was satisfied with the final disposition. “We were well-prepared and ready to go,” Eshkol said, adding “the evidence against this defendant was very strong.”

District Attorney Budelmann commended the investigative work in this case of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance’s Criminal Investigations Division, as well as the excellent work of the NYSP who assisted with the vehicle stop and arrest. DA Budlemann was especially proud of the work done by his own CARP Prosecutor, ADA Eshkol, in preparing this case for trial, securing felony convictions, and returning over ten thousand dollars to the taxpayers of New York State.

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