The state’s top prosecutor yesterday joined an ongoing crusade by the city against roll-your-own cigarette stores.
The New York City Law Department announced a joint filing, by the city and Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, against BB’s Corner, a store in Bensonhurst, and Nitecap Entertainment in Staten Island.
“Rather than playing by the rules, these stores ... are cheating the
state and city of New York out of millions of dollars per year in
legitimate tax revenue and endangering public health and safety while
they’re doing it,” Schneiderman said.
Prosecutors say the two businesses claim they do not sell cigarettes, but instead give customers loose tobacco and tubes of cigarette paper.
Machines then fill the paper tube with tobacco to create cigarettes, which customers purchase by the carton, prosecutors said. Both businesses advertised 200-count cartons for $29.95 — that’s less than half the taxes alone on a carton of cigarettes.
Selling untaxed cigarettes keeps thousands of dollars in tax revenue from the city and state, prosecutors said.
The lawsuit seeks compensation for the lost tax revenue and to stop the sales and advertising of the cigarettes.
The city has targeted six other stores, in Manhattan, Staten Island and Brooklyn, and five of them agreed to close, said Connie Pankratz, with the city law department.
Follow New York local reporter Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro.