A 32-year-old Raleigh man was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in federal prison Monday for his role in a scheme to use stolen credit card numbers to buy large amounts of relatively cheap North Carolina cigarettes and resell them in New York.
Ibrahim Barrie was also ordered to serve 3 years of supervised release after his prison sentence ends and to pay restitution to his victims.
Barrie was convicted of aggravated identity theft and conspiracy to commit access device fraud. Federal prosecutors say he and other co-conspirators acquired stolen credit card data that they then encoded onto the magnetic strips of what appeared to be legitimate gift cards.
The cards were then used by "runners" to buy cigarettes at stores around North Carolina and returned to the scheme's managers, who would periodically take the cigarettes to New York to be sold on the black market, prosecutors say. Barrie was stopped by Virginia State Police in October 2012 with 600 cartons of cigarettes in his car, prosecutors say.
North Carolina has one of the lowest excise taxes on cigarettes, at 45 cents per pack, while New York's is the highest, at $4.35. The combined state and local taxes on a pack of cigarettes in New York City is $5.85 per pack, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, a national non-profit advocacy group.