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Tobacco wholesaler pleads guilty to tax fraud, weapons possession

A Lackawanna tobacco wholesaler pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal tax fraud and criminal possession of a weapon charges in State Supreme Court, the Erie County District Attorney's Office said.

The District Attorney's Office said between Jan. 14, 2014, and April 30, 2016, Mohamed Alabadi, 55, significantly underreported the amount of tobacco products imported by his company on tax returns. Alabadi owns M&J Tobacco Wholesale, the District Attorney's Office said.

The unpaid taxes owed to the state Department of Taxation and Finance totaled $683,379, the District Attorney's Office said.

A search warrant was executed at his residence, where investigators seized a semiautomatic rifle, the District Attorney's Office said.

Alabadi faces a maximum 22 years in prison when sentenced Aug. 13.

At the time of his plea, Alabadi agreed to pay back $100,000 prior to sentencing, the District Attorney's Office said. He signed a confession of judgment to repay the remaining amount, the District Attorney's Office said.

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