Defendants object to sentence reports

OXFORD – Black-market tobacco scheme defendant Mitchell Sivina asked a federal court Tuesday to consider sentence alternatives for him.
Sivina, 38, of Doral, Fla., is scheduled to be sentenced May 16 on two counts that in late 2006 he transported stolen cigarettes from Miami to a Peppertown warehouse, defrauded U.S. and state governments of tobacco taxes and laundered $800,000 in cash from their sale.
Sivina is one of several defendants indicted in a multi-state contraband cigarette scheme that went through Lee County to avoid paying federal and state taxes.
He pleaded guilty to the charges in May 2010 and faces up to 30 years in prison and $750,000 in fines.
Tuesday, Sivina’s attorneys filed an objection to a pre-sentence report, which will be considered by Senior District Judge Neal Biggers when he decides the sentence.
They say the report wrongly calculates as too high the value of the cigarettes, which affects the severity of his punishment, and fails to note any reasons for leniency.
Specifically, they urge Biggers to keep in mind an emotional dependence his two minor children have on Sivina since his divorce from their mother.
Another defendant, Charles Wells of Kentucky, also objected to various details of his pre-sentence report. No date is set for his sentencing.
Wells pleaded guilty a year ago to fraud, making false reports and money laundering in the blackmarket scheme.
Wells also objects to a fine, saying he’s already forfeited the majority of his net worth to the government.
He faces up to 43 years in prison.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal