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    Kickback Scheme Foiled

    Two men charged in cigarette rebate scam to rip off tobacco companies.

    ALBANY, N.Y. -- Two Capital Region men have been charged with involvement in a cigarette rebate kickback scheme that cost Philip Morris $1,530, state Tax Commissioner Arthur Roth announced.

    Gary Haake and John McGuire were charges with falsifying records to provide some Dutchess County convenience stores with improper rebates from Philip Morris. The two men are salesmen for Long Island-based cigarette stamping agent and wholesaler Harold Levinson Associates, according to the Associated Press.

    Department of Taxation and Finance investigators determined that Haake and McGuire were sending invoices to customers for Philip Morris products when they had purchased other cigarettes. This allowed the retailers to take advantage of a manufacturer's incentive Philip Morris was offering, without buying Philip Morris products.

    "Cigarette kickbacks hurt the wholesalers and salesmen who are out there trying to make an honest living," Roth said.

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