3 cigarette brokers face fraud charges over taxes

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - A tobacco distributor closely watched by federal agents for a decade along with two relatives were charged in Kentucky with using phony invoices to avoid paying taxes on millions of dollars' worth of cigarettes sold in several states.

A federal grand jury in Louisville on Thursday charged 42-year-old Pedro "Peter" Bello of Miami, his sister, Caridad Bello of St. Louis, and her husband, Juan Hernandez of St. Louis, with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and money laundering in an effort to avoid paying $2 million to Kentucky in taxes on cigarettes.

Pedro Bello's attorney, Kent Westberry of Louisville, did not immediately return a message seeking comment. Caridad Bello and Hernandez did not have attorneys listed in the court record.

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