By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – Michael Kent Klee of Newport, Ky., was sentenced to a year and a day for his involvement in an illegal tobacco scheme.
Klee pleaded guilty to two counts that he illegally obtained cigarettes and lied on tax reports to the U.S. government about them.
Chief U.S. District Judge Michael P. Mills sentenced him Wednesday. The U.S. Bureau of Prisons will decide where he will serve his term.
Klee entered his plea almost a year ago and agreed to forfeit $1.5 million for his crimes.
He owned Southern Wholesale Supply LLC in Olive Branch and other businesses in Kentucky related to wholesale and retail sales of tobacco products.
His contraband goods were among those seized by federal agents near Tupelo in 2009 and ultimately were auctioned months later.
Last week, a July 9 trial date was set for another tobacco-case defendant, Wilton Leon Holley, of South Carolina.
Holley, 69, pleaded guilty in January 2011 to two counts that he bilked federal and state governments out of taxes and fees from illegal cigarette sales.
The Northern District of Mississippi case was transferred to South Carolina, but on Jan. 13 a federal judge there said he didn’t know enough to sentence Holley.
Then, the case came back to Mississippi.
On May 15, he waived a personal appearance at his arraignment and entered a not guilty plea.
Judge Sharion Aycock will preside over his trial in Aberdeen.