Bassett Mirror Company Will Pay $10.5M to Settle Whistleblower’s Customs Duties FCA Allegations
By the C|C Whistleblower Lawyer Team
Bassett Mirror Company, a Virginia-based home furnishings company, has agreed to pay the United States $10.5 million to resolve allegations it evaded antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China over a five year period. Antidumping duties level the playing field for U.S. companies by protecting against foreign companies “dumping” products on the U.S. market at unfairly low prices.
According to the government, Bassett Mirror avoided paying antidumping duties on its wooden bedroom furniture imports by misclassifying it as non-bedroom furniture on official import documents. As a result, Bassett Mirror avoided a 216 percent antidumping duty on wooden bedroom furniture it imported from 2009 to 2014.
The settlement resolves a lawsuit originally brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The Act allows whistleblowers to bring a suit on the government’s behalf and share in any recovery based on the whistleblower’s information. In this case, the whistleblower will receive $1.9 million.
In a Justice Department press release, Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler said “those who import and sell foreign-made goods in the United States must comply with the laws meant to protect domestic companies and American workers from illegal foreign trade practices. The Department of Justice will pursue those who seek an unfair advantage in U.S. markets by evading the duties owed on goods imported into this country.”