Texas-based University Furnishings LP and its general partner, Freedom Furniture Group Inc., agreed to pay $15 million to settle charges they violated the False Claims Act by making false statements to avoid paying duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from China. According to the government, between 2009 and mid-2012, University Furnishings misclassified wooden bedroom furniture on documents presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to avoid paying antidumping duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture manufactured in China. The companies allegedly classified the furniture as office and other types of furniture not subject to duties while selling the furniture in the student housing market for use in dormitory bedrooms. The allegations originated in a whistleblower lawsuit brought by University Loft Company under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. University Loft will receive a whistleblower award of $2.25 million from the proceeds of the government’s recovery. DOJ
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