Friday, August 17, 2012

Another Way Cigars Are Bad for You

If for some reason or other you were thinking that perhaps the next time you were in Dunhill’s in Paris or London you might just slip a few Cubans into your briefcase and bring them back to the U.S., think again, particularly if you’re a lawyer and want to stay that way. The Illinois Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Committee just recommended the disbarment of an Illinois attorney because, among other things, he was convicted of violating the Trading with the Enemy Act in connection with boxes of Cuban cigars that he brought with him into the United States.
Now, admittedly, Richard S. Connors, the attorney in question, did just a teensy bit more than stuff a few Cohibas in his blazer jacket and try to slip them past Customs. According to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which upheld his criminal conviction, Connors was caught with 46 boxes of cigars in four suitcases in his automobile’s trunk while crossing the Canadian border and apparently more were carried back when returning from approximately 30 other trips to Cuba. Connors was also convicted of filing a false passport when, after Customs yanked his passport in connection with the cigar smuggling, he applied for a new one, stating only that his previous passport was missing. The Illinois Committee also noted that Connors had been previously suspended for misappropriation of client funds and had still not reimbursed those funds.

But the story gets better (or worse, I suppose, if you are Mr. Connors). The feds were tipped off to his Cuban cigar shenanigans by his wife during a messy divorce proceeding. In fact, according to Connors in his unsuccessful appeal, she “reconciled” with him only to get into his house to get information to turn over to federal investigators, something Connors claimed, without success, violated his Fourth Amendment rights. Oh, and about that house, the feds seized it because he kept the cigars there and used the proceeds from the sales of his cigars to pay his mortgage.

One other interesting tidbit: the Communist regime in Cuba was not toppled upon the end of Mr. Connor’s cigar business. Fidel and Raúl are doing fine; Mr. Connors, not so much.

[Authored by Attorney Clif Burns, publisher of Export Law Blog. See our BlogRoll on the right column.]

1 comment:

  1. He might have just sneaked a few electronic cigarettes instead; maybe the authorities would've been a bit more lenient by then.