"Gray market" conspirators sentenced in Georgia

May 23, 2002

The United States Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia has sentenced seven participants in a "gray market" scheme designed to defraud the United States of federal excise taxes (FET) on truck tires.

Ringleader Jimmy D. Lunsford of Scottsdale, Ariz., was given 41 months in prison with three years supervised release and was ordered to pay more than $96,000 in restitution.

Others were given probation and, in some cases, will have to pay restitution as well.

The men bought medium commercial truck tires from manufacturers and distributors for export outside the U.S. but instead sold the tires domestically.

They avoided paying more than $1.2 million in FET altogether.

Gray market schemes "affect tire dealers who properly remit their FET because (gray market tires) are often sold for a price lower than legitimate tire dealers pay for tires that include FET," according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice.

The seven were found guilty in February.