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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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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

April 9, 2019

Univar USA, Inc. has agreed to pay $62.5 million to settle claims that it engaged in unlawful transshipment of saccharin manufactured in China in order to evade antidumping duties.  Univar purchased the saccharin from a supplier in Taiwan, but was alleged to be grossly negligent or negligent in failing to identify that the Taiwan-based company was not the manufacturer, but simply had imported the saccharin from China for transshipment to the U.S.  Univar allegedly evaded $36 million in antidumping duties.  DOJ

September 10, 2018

Michael Brian Anderson, a shrimper and fisherman, has been sentenced to 77 months in prison for defrauding Customs & Border Protection (CBP), after earlier being convicted of false statements, mail fraud, and money laundering. Under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act of 2000 (CDSOA), federal subsidies are made available to American shrimpers to offset revenue lost to competitors in the global marketplace. As a domestic shrimper, Anderson was eligible to apply for the subsidies but fraudulently inflated his expenses to more than $24 million for a two year period. He then received $800,00 in subsidies, which he used to purchase boats, real estate, and stocks. In addition to his prison sentence, he is now due to pay restitution to CBP for $818,234. USAO SDGA

June 27, 2018

The government settled fraud charges under the False Claims Act against Temple St. Clair LLC for allegations of systematically avoiding payment of customs duties on goods it imported from various countries including Thailand, Sri Lanka, and Italy. Temple St. Clair allegedly perpetuated the fraud by claiming the good it imported were of a lower value than the true value. Other Temple St. Clair employees also allegedly hand-carried jewelry into the United states without declaring it to Customs and Border Patrol. Temple St. Clair agreed to pay $796,000 to resolve the allegations and institute a number of changes to its practices. USAO SDNY

Question of the Week -- Will New Tariffs Result in More Fraudulent Tariff Dodging?

Posted  06/6/18
On May 31, the White House announced new tariffs on steel and aluminum entering the United States from Canada, Mexico, and the European Union. Steel from those countries and the European Union will be subject to a 25% tariff, and aluminum will be subject to a 10% tariff. While the steel and aluminum tariffs were originally proposed to apply to imports from a larger number of countries, the White House announcement...

British Whistleblowers can Make “Millions” under US Laws if they “Shop” UK Companies, American Lawyers Say

Posted  04/30/18
The Telegraph reported this weekend on Andrew Patrick, the first British whistleblower to expose a UK company for evading U.S. import duties and only the second British whistleblower to receive an award under the False Claims Act. Mr. Patrick brought a qui tam lawsuit in 2016 against Pure Collection Ltd (“Pure”). The U.S. government intervened in the lawsuit and it ultimately resulted in a settlement of over...

February 13, 2018

British Knitwear Retailer Pure Collection Ltd. and its CEO Samantha Harrison agreed to pay $908,100 to resolve allegations they violated the False Claims Act by avoiding U.S. customs duties owed on merchandise shipped from the United Kingdom to U.S. customers, including many customers in Maine. According to the government, they did so by breaking up single shipments into multiple shipments of lesser value in order to avoid the applicable duties. The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Andrew Patrick. He will receive a yet-to-be determined award from the proceeds of the government’s recovery. DOJ (D. ME)

February 6, 2018

Tennessee-based Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. (which also operates under the name Function Furniture First) agreed to pay $500,000 to resolve allegations it violated the False Claims Act by making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from China. The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act by Home Furnishings competitor University Loft Company. University Loft will receive a whistleblower award of roughly $75,000 from the proceeds of the government's recovery. DOJ

Blowing the Whistle on Tariff Dodgers

Posted  04/23/18
By Anne Hayes Hartman
containers at port with cranes
Faced with higher tariffs, some importers seek unlawful means to avoid those costs.  As tariff evasion schemes multiply and become more valuable, whistleblowers can play a critical role in exposing these schemes, and can receive a financial reward for doing so. In an article titled Tariff Dodgers Stand to Profit Off U.S.-China Trade Dispute, the New York Times described the schemes that companies importing goods...