Sivina receives 31-month sentence in tobacco case

OXFORD – Tobacco conspiracy defendant Mitchell Sivina will begin a 31-month prison term July 18.
He also was ordered to pay nearly $1.4 million in restitution to cigarette maker Phillip Morris USA for a shipment of cigarettes stolen in October 2006.
Sivina, 39 of Doral, Fla., was sentenced Monday by Senior U.S. District Judge Neal B. Biggers.
He faced a maximum of 30 years. His reduced sentence apparently came after Biggers considered a government request for leniency because of Sivina’s “substantial assistance” with the federal, multi-state tobacco scheme investigation.
Biggers also asked the U.S. Bureau of Prisons to assign Sivina to a prison camp in or near the Southern District of Florida.
After release from prison, Sivina will be supervised by authorities for another three years.
Sivina pleaded guilty in May 2010 on two counts of interstate transportation of stolen cigarettes and money laundering. He is the second defendant to be sentenced.
Earlier this month, his attorneys objected to a pre-sentence report they said recommended too harsh a punishment. They also claimed his minor children would be emotionally damaged by a lengthy absence.
Federal prosecutors told the court on May 10 that Sivina’s assistance helped them make cases against numerous others involved in the tobacco scheme.
The tobacco conspiracy, which included warehouses in Lee County, aimed to avoid paying certain state and federal tobacco taxes by coming into Mississippi and claiming the cigarettes came from here, where some of those payments are exempt because of the state’s participation in a national tobacco settlement.

Contact Patsy R. Brumfieldat (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@journalinc.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal