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Customs Fraud

This archive displays posts tagged as relevant to fraud in customs and tariffs. You may also be interested in the following pages:

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September 25, 2020

A multinational industrial engineering company headquartered in Germany has agreed to pay $22 million to settle allegations of violating the False Claims Act.  In order to avoid paying certain import duties over a six year period, Linde GmbH and its Houston-based subsidiary, Linde Engineering North America LLC knowingly misrepresented the nature, classification, and valuation of its merchandise, which is used in the construction of natural gas and chemical manufacturing plants.  The misconduct was first brought to the government’s attention by a whistleblower, who will receive a $3.7 million share of the settlement proceeds.  The defendant later made a partial disclosure to the government prior to the government’s disclosure of its investigation.  DOJ; USAO EDPA

Putting a Stop to Illegal Imports from Forced Uyghur Labor

Posted  09/18/20
barbed wire
The world has watched in horror as, starting in 2018, up to two million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities have been arrested, relocated, or otherwise forced into internment centers in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region in China.  The government of the People’s Republic of China has separated thousands of Uyghur children from parents, forced methods of control on women, and inflicted physical and psychological...

August 26, 2020

LA-based clothing company Ambiance Apparel and its owner Sang Bum “Ed” Noh have pleaded guilty to customs violations and tax offenses, agreeing to pay a total of $118 million, which includes $36 million in previously-seized cash.  Defendants evaded import tariffs by colluding with Asian manufacturers for the submission of invoices to CBP that fraudulently understated the value of imported clothing. The fraudulent invoices indicated payment terms by letter of credit; a second invoice for the balance of the actual price was paid by defendants by wire transfer. In less than five years, Ambiance undervalued imports by about $82.6 million and failed to pay more than $17.1 million in tariffs. In addition, defendants failed to properly report cash transactions and maintained a second set of books for cash transactions, evading nearly $17 million in taxes.  The company will be placed on probation for five years and will be ordered to undertake specific compliance procedures.  USAO CD Cal

Constantine Cannon Client Slams the Brakes on Customs Fraud in $8 Million Settlement Against Auto Parts Distributor Centric Parts

Posted  07/24/20
Line of automobiles
Steve Hughes, a whistleblower represented by Constantine Cannon, slammed the brakes on a long-running scheme by his former employer to evade customs duties, resulting in an $8 million settlement of the whistleblower’s False Claims Act lawsuit against CWD, LLC. The Carson, CA-based company, which does business as Centric Parts, is one of the largest aftermarket brake and chassis parts distributors in North America....

July 22, 2020

Auto parts distributor CWD Holdings LLC, which does business as Centric Parts, will pay $8 million to resolve claims in False Claims Act cases brought by two whistleblowers, Steven Hughes and Jeffrey Hawk.  The government alleged that over the course of ten years the defendant imported brake pads, falsely identifying them as unmounted brake pads, which are not subject to any tariff, when they were, in fact, mounted brake pads, which are subject to a 2.5% tariff.  Defendant thereby knowingly evaded millions of dollars in customs duties.  The whistleblowers will share a $1.48 million whistleblower award.  USAO ED MI; USAO CD CA

April 14, 2020

Importer Blue Furniture Solutions, LLC, its successor XMillennium, LLC, and former executives Yingqing Zeng and Alex Cheng have agreed to pay more than $5.2 million to settle allegations that they violated the False Claims Act in conspiring to evade customs duties and fees on furniture imported from China.  In a qui tam complaint by whistleblower University Loft Company, which the United States elected to intervene in, the defendants were accused of declaring wooden bedroom furniture as “metal” or “non-bedroom”, manipulating packing lists and invoices, and directing manufacturers to mislabel boxes and falsify invoices to help defendants evade U.S. customs officials.  USAO WDTX

September 12, 2019

Italian textile company Miroglio Textile S.R.L. and its U.S. affiliate Miroglio Textiles USA, Inc. will pay $650,000 to resolve charges brought in a whistleblower action alleging that the companies fraudulently reduced their obligation to pay customs duties on fabrics, decals, and other products sold by the Italian company to U.S. customers. Without any bona fide business justification, the companies reported the imports as sales from the Italian company to the U.S. affiliate at discounted prices, and used those discounted prices as the basis to calculate duties.  These sales were shams, and Miroglio misrepresented their nature, and the relationship between the entities, in certifications to Customs & Border Protection.  USAO SDNY

How Businesses Can Use Whistleblower Reward Laws to Stop Unfair Competition

Posted  07/22/19
Runner in track race starting before other racers
Most anyone can be a whistleblower. The role is not limited to the corporate insider or company employee at the meeting, on the conference call or in receipt of the email or text message where the “smoking-gun” evidence of fraud or misconduct is disclosed. Whistleblowers can be any person, or an entity, with non-public information about fraudulent conduct giving rise to a whistleblower claim.  Often, businesses...

June 6, 2019

Joseph Bailey, the CEO of NYC-based children's clothing companies Stargate Apparel, Inc. and Rivstar Apparel, Inc., has been arrested, and the government has filed a civil complaint in intervention against all three, arising from their alleged actions in falsifying records regarding the value of goods imported to the U.S. in order to evade customs duty payment obligations.  Defendants allegedly engaged in double-invoicing schemes whereby a Chinese manufacturer would provide both a "pay by" invoice with the actual price, and a second, lower invoice, to be presented to Customs and Border Protection, or a "commercial invoice" and a second "sample invoice" in a larger amount, because sample goods are not subject to customs duties.  The schemes were first brought to the attention of federal law enforcement by a whistleblower who filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act. USAO SDNY

May 13, 2019

British fashion company Selective Marketplace Ltd., which sells products in the U.S. under its brand names Wrap London and Poetry, will pay $610,000, to resolve a whistleblower suit under the False Claims Act alleging that it improperly broke up U.S.-bound orders into multiple shipments in order to keep the shipment values below the $200 limit that would obligate the payment of customs duties.  The whistleblowers, Kristin and Stephen Vale, will receive a share of the settlement proceeds.  USAO ME
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