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TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT * LOCATIONS AFFECTED - Huntington - Smithtown - Port Jefferson * WIND - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Equivalent Tropical Storm force wind - Peak Wind Forecast: 30-40 mph with gusts to 50 mph - Window for Tropical Storm force winds: early this evening until early Saturday morning - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for wind 39 to 57 mph - The wind threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Plan for hazardous wind of equivalent tropical storm force. - PREPARE: Remaining efforts to protect property should be completed as soon as possible. Prepare for limited wind damage. - ACT: Move to safe shelter before the wind becomes hazardous. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Limited - Damage to porches, awnings, carports, sheds, and unanchored mobile homes. Unsecured lightweight objects blown about. - Many large tree limbs broken off. A few trees snapped or uprooted, but with greater numbers in places where trees are shallow rooted. Some fences and roadway signs blown over. - A few roads impassable from debris, particularly within urban or heavily wooded places. Hazardous driving conditions on bridges and other elevated roadways. - Scattered power and communications outages. * STORM SURGE - No storm surge inundation forecast - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Little to no storm surge flooding - The storm surge threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: There is little to no threat of storm surge flooding. Rough surf, coastal erosion, and life-threatening rip currents are possible. - PREPARE: Little to no preparations for storm surge flooding are needed. - ACT: Follow the instructions of local officials. Monitor forecasts. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Little to None - Little to no potential impacts from storm surge flooding. * FLOODING RAIN - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: Flash Flood Watch is in effect - Peak Rainfall Amounts: 1-3 inches, with locally higher amounts - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for moderate flooding rain - The flooding rain threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for moderate flooding from heavy rain. Evacuations and rescues are possible. - PREPARE: Consider protective actions if you are in an area vulnerable to flooding. - ACT: Heed any flood watches and warnings. Failure to take action may result in serious injury or loss of life. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Significant - Moderate rainfall flooding may prompt several evacuations and rescues. - Rivers and streams may quickly become swollen with swifter currents and may overspill their banks in a few places, especially in usually vulnerable spots. Small streams, creeks, canals, and ditches may overflow. - Flood waters can enter some structures or weaken foundations. Several places may experience expanded areas of rapid inundation at underpasses, low lying spots, and poor drainage areas. Some streets and parking lots take on moving water as storm drains and retention ponds overflow. Driving conditions become hazardous. Some road and bridge closures. * TORNADO - LATEST LOCAL FORECAST: - Situation is somewhat favorable for tornadoes - THREAT TO LIFE AND PROPERTY THAT INCLUDES TYPICAL FORECAST UNCERTAINTY IN TRACK, SIZE AND INTENSITY: Potential for a few tornadoes - The tornado threat has remained nearly steady from the previous assessment. - PLAN: Emergency plans should include the potential for a few tornadoes. - PREPARE: If your shelter is particularly vulnerable to tornadoes, prepare to relocate to safe shelter before hazardous weather arrives. - ACT: If a tornado warning is issued, be ready to shelter quickly. - POTENTIAL IMPACTS: Limited - The occurrence of isolated tornadoes can hinder the execution of emergency plans during tropical events. - A few places may experience tornado damage, along with power and communications disruptions. - Locations could realize roofs peeled off buildings, chimneys toppled, mobile homes pushed off foundations or overturned, large tree tops and branches snapped off, shallow rooted trees knocked over, moving vehicles blown off roads, and small boats pulled from moorings. * FOR MORE INFORMATION: - - -

AG Schneiderman Announces $70 Million Lawsuit Against Fedex for Illegally Shipping 80 Million Untaxed Cigarettes to Consumers

Investigation finds shipping giant made nearly 33k illegal shipments of cigarettes to consumers in New York State since 2006; lawsuit seeks an additional $165m in penalties.

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New York - March 31, 2014 - Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that his office has filed a $70 million lawsuit against Federal Express Corporation for unlawfully shipping nearly 80 million contraband cigarettes to consumers across New York State in violation of federal and state laws. The lawsuit joins and expands upon a complaint filed in December in Manhattan federal court by the City of New York and adds extensive claims of FedEx’s unlawful shipments around the state.  
The joint complaint alleges that, between 2006 and 2012, FedEx made nearly 33,000 illegal shipments of cigarettes to consumers in New York State, amounting to over 400,000 cartons of untaxed cigarettes and a direct tax loss to the state of over $10 million. Each illegal shipment carries a maximum penalty of $5,000. The shipments were in clear violation of an agreement FedEx entered into with the New York State Attorney General’s Office in 2006, in which it agreed to cease all unlawful cigarette deliveries to consumers both in New York and throughout the country. The lawsuit further alleges that the company engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity with various cigarette retailers to traffic contraband cigarettes in violation of the federal anti-racketeering statute. 
“FedEx’s blatant disregard for its long-standing agreement with New York, as well as federal and state law, enabled tens of millions of cheap, untaxed cigarettes to be shipped to New Yorkers,” Attorney General Schneiderman said. “Not only has FedEx cheated the state out of millions in tax dollars -- but many of these cigarettes may have ended up in the hands of teenagers, who are particularly vulnerable to low-priced cigarettes. Illness and death caused by cigarette smoking is the number one preventable public health epidemic of our day. If we can make cheap cigarettes less widely available, we can discourage young people from smoking and limit this public health disaster."
New York City Corporation Counsel Zachary W. Carter said, “The city is pleased to continue its partnership with Attorney General Schneiderman to eliminate trafficking in bootlegged cigarettes and fight on behalf of New Yorkers to recover millions of dollars in fines and unpaid taxes.” 
These shipments by FedEx are prohibited by the federal Contraband Cigarette Trafficking Act (CCTA) and Prevent All Cigarette Trafficking (PACT) Act, as well as by New York State tax and public health laws.  
The Attorney General’s investigation and lawsuit is based on documents subpoenaed from FedEx as well as documents received from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The documents show that, since 2006, FedEx made thousands of shipments of cigarettes to New York consumers from cigarette vendors in Kentucky, California and Long Island’s Shinnecock Reservation. All the shipments violated New York Public Health Law 1399-ll, which prohibits direct shipments of cigarettes to consumers in the state. In addition, as these cigarettes did not bear New York State or New York City tax stamps, the shipments violated the federal CCTA, which specifically prohibits shipments of 10,000 or more untaxed cigarettes in a jurisdiction where such taxes are required by state or local law.  
With multiple violations of the CCTA, FedEx engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity with the various cigarette retailers. Thus, in addition to the tax loss, New York State is entitled to treble damages under the federal Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organizations Act, also known as the RICO act, amounting to nearly $35 million in penalties. 
Because the federal PACT Act requires shippers to affix specified labels identifying the contents as cigarettes and to report all sales into a state, which FedEx did not do, New York is entitled to significant penalties for these violations. Last, the Assurance of Compliance agreement reached with FedEx in 2006 provides that that company must pay a stipulated penalty of $1000 per violation, amounting to approximately $34 million.
Attorney General Schneiderman has led anti-smoking initiatives, including a national effort calling on major pharmacies to stop selling tobacco products. For more information on that initiative, announced earlier this month, click here
His office has also successfully undertaken a number of efforts to keep tobacco out of the hands of young New Yorkers. Under his leadership, the state’s Tobacco Compliance Bureau has cracked down on websites illegally selling cigarettes, which provide teens with easy access to tobacco, and shut down so-called “roll your own” cigarette shops in New York City, which were popular among teenagers and young adults. The Attorney General’s Criminal Prosecution Bureau has also taken down a cigarette trafficking ring that operated up and down the Eastern Seaboard. 
Attorney General Schneiderman thanks New York City’s Corporation Counsel for their continuing efforts to stop illegal cigarette trafficking.  
The lawsuit is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Sandra Pullman with Dana Biberman, Bureau Chief of the Attorney General’s Tobacco Compliance Bureau. The Executive Deputy Attorney General for Social Justice is Alvin Bragg and the office’s First Deputy for Affirmative Litigation is Janet Sabel.