Ho-Chunk, Inc. Distribution to pay $300,000 fine - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Ho-Chunk, Inc. Distribution to pay $300,000 fine

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A Winnebago, Nebraska company will have to pay $300,000 as part of a federal contraband cigarette investigation.

According to the U.S. Attorney's office 18 people have been indicted by a federal grand jury.

That includes 39 year-old Teddy Frenchman of Winnebago, a former warehouse operations manager at Ho-Chunk Incorporated Distribution, a subsidiary of Ho-Chunk, Incorporated, headquartered in Winnebago.

According to court documents, from 2010 to 2012, two of the defendants purchased more than 17 million dollars worth of contraband cigarettes from ATF agents during an undercover operation.

Those cigarettes were transported to New York without paying the required excise tax.

During one of those transactions, court documents say cigarettes were delivered to Ho-Chunk Distribution and Frenchman signed the bill behalf of the company.

Those cigarettes were then transported to New York to be sold on the reservations.

As part of a non-prosecution agreement, HCID acknowledges responsibility for its role in the conspiracy.

It agrees to take several actions, including refraining from all transactions regarding premium brand cigarettes for 2 years.

In a statement, Ho-Chunk Corporate Communications Director Janice Jessen says, "We do not condone this situation. We never condone putting any of our businesses at risk and we do not condone any type of dishonesty."

They say they're taking steps to make sure this does not happen again.

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