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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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July 28, 2021

Clothing companies Stargate Apparel, Inc. (now known as Excel Apparel Corp.), Rivstar Apparel, Inc. (now defunct), and former CEO and owner Joseph Bailey have agreed to pay a total of $6 million to settle a whistleblower’s allegations that they submitted false claims to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).  Between 2004 and 2015, Stargate, Rivstar, and Bailey allegedly engaged in two different fraud schemes to avoid paying millions of dollars in customs duties.  Both of the schemes involved submitting separate invoices to the CBP, which underreported the true value of goods being imported into the United States.  USAO SDNY

Top Ten Non-Healthcare False Claims Act Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/14/21
Lincoln bill zoomed on his face
This year’s Top Ten Non-Healthcare False Claims Act Recoveries demonstrates the False Claims Act’s power to combat an array of corporate misconduct spanning diverse industries. In 2020, the United States recovered hundreds of millions in taxpayer funds obtained through claims rendered false by bribery and bid-rigging schemes, mortgage underwriting fraud, avoided import duties, fraudulent loan applications, and...

Top Ten Federal Financial Fraud Recoveries of 2020

Posted  01/14/21
man pocketing cash in suit
The U.S. government has many enforcement options for financial and investment fraud, including those that provide for whistleblower rewards such as the SEC Whistleblower Program, the CFTC Whistleblower Program, and the IRS Whistleblower Program.  These programs, along with a new one under the Anti-Money-Laundering Act of 2020, are open for business and promise to pay millions of dollars in whistleblower awards in...

December 10, 2020

Four affiliated jewelry importing companies – Roman & Sunstone LLC; ISTAR Jewelry LLC; Ansun Inc.; and Starkes Gems Inc. – agreed to pay $866,068 to resolve claims made in an action brought by a whistleblower under the False Claims Act that they evaded customs on earrings imported from China by misrepresenting the quantity imported.  The whistleblower will receive an award of approximately $152,000.  USAO MA

October 30, 2020

Days and Towers, LLC will pay over $800,000 to resolve charges that it violated the False Claims Act between 2015 and 2019 through its submission of false tariff schedules to reduce its customs obligations on imported products.  USAO PR

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....

Centric Parts – Customs Fraud ($8 million)

In a customs fraud victory, the Constantine Cannon team represented whistleblower Steve Hughes in his successful False Claims Act action against his former employer, auto parts distributor CWD, LLC.  Hughes alleged that CWD, which does business as Centric Parts, misclassified brake pads imported from Asia as “unmounted” brake pads when they were, in fact, brake pads mounted to a metal backing plate, and therefor subject to a 2.5% tariff.  When Hughes learned of the misclassification, he immediately advised the CEO and CFO to disclose the issue to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  Instead, the company concealed the misclassification and retaliated against Hughes.  As a result of Centric’s alleged omissions and false statements regarding its imported products, the company knowingly evaded millions of dollars of customs duties it owed to the United States.  The $8 million settlement resolved the Hughes lawsuit and one other qui tam action filed by a different whistleblower.  The whistleblowers shared a $1.48 million whistleblower award, representing 18.5% of the government’s recovery.  Whistleblower Insider; Press release
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