S.C. man gets prison time for his part in illegal tobacco scheme

By Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Wilton Leon Holley was sentenced Monday to 33 months in federal prison for his part in a multi-state blackmarket cigarette scheme.

Holley, 68, of Anderson, S.C., pleaded guilty last January to two counts that he bilked the U.S., Mississippi, South Carolina and other states out of taxes and fees due from illegal cigarette sales.

He is at least the seventh defendant to plead guilty to similar charges brought through the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Oxford, Miss.

The judge also ordered Holley to pay $405,084 in restitution to the jurisdictions defrauded of taxes on sales.

Holley’s case, which originated with an October 2010 indictment in Oxford, was transferred to his home state of South Carolina soon after he agreed to plead guilty.

In exchange for his plea deal, Holley agreed to cooperate with the government about his knowledge of the tobacco scheme and individuals involved.

Last June, Holley’s attorney asked the judge for leniency from sentencing guidelines, which called for 27-33 months. The recommendation, he said, “substantially overstates the seriousness of this unusual offense.”

• For more, read Tuesday’s Daily Journal.

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