Press release from Business Wire
Philip Morris USA Sues Miami Retailers to Combat Counterfeit Cigarette Sales
Monday, June 20, 2011
RICHMOND, Va. (Business Wire) -- Philip Morris USA (PM USA) filed a civil lawsuit on Friday against 17 retailers in the Miami area for selling counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes. This lawsuit is part of a multi-faceted campaign by PM USA aimed at combating the sale of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes in south Florida.
“The sale of counterfeit cigarettes undermines Philip Morris USA's brands, defrauds adult smokers who believe they are purchasing genuine Marlboro® product and harms the legitimate channels through which our products are distributed and sold,” said Jose Luis Murillo, vice president and associate general counsel, Altria Client Services speaking on behalf of PM USA. “Selling counterfeit cigarettes is illegal, and we will take appropriate action to protect our brands, adult consumers and retailers. Philip Morris USA will continue to combat illicit cigarette sales by monitoring the market, supporting law enforcement investigations and pursuing litigation,” said Murillo.
Counterfeit cigarettes are often manufactured in China in unregulated facilities and then smuggled into the U.S. and other countries around the world. Those who profit from the illegal distribution and sale of counterfeit cigarettes are often involved in other organized crimes, such as drug, weapons and human trafficking. These criminals range from small-time smugglers to organized crime and organizations with ties to terrorism. Counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes are also sold online through China-based websites.
“The sale of counterfeit cigarettes is a developing issue in south Florida resulting in significant lost revenue for the state and Miami in a time when these funds are sorely needed,” added Murillo.
According to PM USA market monitoring, there could be over one million packs of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes available annually in the Miami area, making it one of the top three areas in the U.S. for counterfeit cigarettes.
Any consumer who suspects that they have purchased counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes should call the 1-800 number on the pack to report their purchase to PM USA. To avoid the unintentional sale of counterfeit Marlboro® cigarettes, retailers are encouraged to only purchase cigarettes from legitimate distributors.
Philip Morris USA is an operating company of Altria Group, Inc. (NYSE: MO). More information on PM USA and its policies and positions on tobacco issues is available at www.philipmorrisusa.com.
|Defendants||Store Name||Store Address||
Latin Bakery, Inc.; Eduardo Fernandez
|Latin Bakery||1275 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135||05/29/2011||MARLBORO®|
Palmar Cafeteria, Inc.; Clara Martinez
|Palmar Cafeteria||6927 NW 77th Ave., Miami, FL 33166-2835||05/31/2011||MARLBORO®|
|Woodland Investments, Inc.; Merida Vivas||Granada Liquors||
4821 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33134
|Robles Administration Corp.; Ramon Robles||12 Ave. Sunoco||
641 NW 12th Ave., Miami, FL 33136
|El Gran Shanghai Corp.; Heliodoro Hung||El Gran Shanghi||1225 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135||05/29/2011||MARLBORO®|
|Fritanga Terrabona, Inc.; Aracelly Suarez||Las Palmas Fritauja||1100 E. 25th St., Hialeah, FL 33013||05/25/2011||MARLBORO®|
AFG Advance Corp.; Adel F. Garcia Jr.
|AFG Advance Corp.||4401 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33134||05/29/2011||MARLBORO®|
|Villa Dollar Discount, Corp.; Maria Borrero De Bayer||Villa Dollar Discount Corp.||1829 W. Flagler St., Miami, FL 33135||05/30/2011||MARLBORO®|
|D.G.L. Corporation; Alexis Gongora||DGL Super Cafeteria Restaurant||8248 W 8th Ave., Hialeah, FL 33014||05/27/2011||MARLBORO® GOLD|
|Hellen's Dollar Discount, Inc.; Yamatsys Varona||Hellen's Dollar Discount, Inc.||
1710 NW 7th St., Suite 1
Miami, FL 33125
|Pranta Inc.; Mohammed F. Ahmed||Collins Food Market||
7335 Collins Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33141
|Almonte Enterprises, Inc.; Leonardo D. Almonte||71 Street Liquor||
211 71st St., Miami Beach, FL 33141
|Naser Food Market, Inc.; Naser A. Quraan||Naser Supermarket||5845 NE 2nd Ave., Miami, FL 33137||05/31/2011||MARLBORO®|
|CLY Minimarket Corp.; Liliana Perdomo||CLY Minimarket Corp.||600 NE 36th St., Miami, FL 33137||06/02/2011||MARLBORO®|
|FAMA Discount & Dollar Store, Inc.; Juan U. Jimenez Robaina||FAMA Discount & Dollar Store||6783 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33144||06/03/2011||MARLBORO®|
|L&I Café Corp.; Israel Salazar||Latin Café on the Beach||441 W. 41st St., Miami Beach, FL 33140||03/19/2011||MARLBORO®|
|Tamiami Gas, Inc.; Angelina Flores||Tamiami Gas, Inc.||6401 SW 8th St., Miami, FL 33144||01/11/2011||MARLBORO®|
Philip Morris USA
Media Relations, 804-484-8897