Judge: UPS must pay $247 million to NYC and state in cigarette case

Cigarette (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW YORK (AP) – A federal judge has ordered delivery giant UPS Inc. to pay New York City and the state nearly $247 million in damages and penalties for illegally shipping cigarettes.

U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest handed down the penalty on Thursday after finding the company liable in a civil case in federal court in Manhattan for transporting untaxed cigarettes from Indian reservations.

New York state and New York City sued Atlanta-based UPS in 2015.

UPS claims it followed the rules and can only do so much to police what its 1.6 million daily shippers send in sealed packages. It says it’s “extremely disappointed” with the ruling, calling it excessive. The company plans to appeal.

The city says it’s pleased with the award, which it says reflects the serious nature of the offenses.