Envelope Icon. Sign up to automatically receive the weekly TTB Newsletter (via email).

TTB NEWSLETTER | Weekly News

February 3, 2017


IN THIS ISSUE

Greetings!  This week's top news includes a guilty plea related to illegal importation of cigarettes, and the realignment of our Market Compliance Office into our Trade Investigations Division along with the selection of a new alcohol advertising and trade practices program manager.


GUILTY PLEA IN CASE INVOLVING ILLEGAL IMPORTATION OF CHINESE CIGARETTES

On Monday, January 30, 2017, Zhi Xiong Chen, 56, of Los Angeles, pleaded guilty to importing cigarettes without a federal permit. Chen admitted that he attempted to evade paying more than $467,000 in federal and state excise taxes on the cigarettes that he imported illegally.

Chen faces a statutory maximum penalty of five years in federal prison.

This case is being investigated by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Criminal Investigations, and IRS Criminal Investigation. Assistant United States Attorney Valerie L. Makarewicz of the Tax Division and Trial Attorney Christopher S. Strauss of the Justice Department's Tax Division are prosecuting the case.

You can view the press release from the United States Attorney for the Central District of California here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-cdca/pr/guilty-plea-case-involving-illegal-importation-chinese-cigarettes

MARKET COMPLIANCE OFFICE REALIGNED UNDER TRADE INVESTIGATIONS DIVISION

TTB's Market Compliance Office (MCO) has moved from the Advertising, Labeling, and Formulation Division to the Trade Investigations Division. With this move, all of our marketplace monitoring and enforcement functions are under one division. Under the Trade Investigations Division, the Market Compliance Office will:

  • Ensure that alcohol beverage advertisements comply with the Federal Alcohol Administration (FAA) Act and regulations. MCO offers pre-clearance services, reviews industry member websites and social media, and investigates complaints regarding advertising activities.
  • Monitor alcohol beverages in the market place through the alcohol beverage sampling program. The sampling program helps ensure that products in the market place are accurately described on labels from both a consumer deception and revenue protection perspective.
  • Monitor and respond to product safety issues involving adulterated or contaminated alcohol beverages, or other mislabeling issues involving alcohol beverages, and ensure these products do not enter or are removed from the U.S. marketplace.
  • Respond to consumer complaints regarding alcohol beverage products, when necessary in conjunction with TTB's Field Operations and Scientific Services Divisions.
  • Assist Field Operations in their investigation of FAA Act cases. This can include providing technical assistance regarding certificates of label approval (COLAs), U.S. Customs documentation, and advertising, formula, and labeling issues. MCO will also refer leads for compliance and product integrity investigations.
  • NEW Oversee TTB's trade practice enforcement program. 
The Market Compliance Office may be reached at Market.Compliance@ttb.gov/.

LISA GESSER SELECTED AS THE MARKET COMPLIANCE OFFICE'S ADVERTISING AND TRADE PRACTICES PROGRAM MANAGER

As part of its new role in overseeing the trade practice enforcement program, the Market Compliance Office is pleased to announce that Lisa M. Gesser has been selected as the Program Manager for Advertising and Trade Practices. Lisa comes to the Market Compliance Office from TTB's Regulations and Rulings Division with 9 years as a Program Manager for the Federal Alcohol Administration Act, and over 17 years of specialized experience with the advertising and trade practice regulations.

Industry members who have questions concerning compliance with TTB's trade practice regulations may contact Lisa by e-mail at TradePractices@ttb.gov/.

 

TTB Newsletter Archives >>>


Please visit the homepage of TTB.gov/ for the most recent news, or visit the Contact Us page if you have any questions.