WASHINGTON, D.C.—Analysts at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's (CBP) trade fraud targeting unit, responding to a complaint filed through e-Allegations, CBP's online trade violation reporting system, uncovered a transshipment scheme to avoid paying antidumping duties on imported steel-wire hangers.
The e-Allegations filing resulted in the sentencing of a Tijuana, Mexico businessman to 70 months in federal prison and an order to pay more than $3 million in restitution to the U.S. government and forfeiture of more than $4 million in proceeds gained through the illegal transshipment scheme.
"This case demonstrates CBP's commitment to detecting and disrupting illegal transshipment schemes," said Allen Gina, the CBP assistant commissioner for trade. "Working with industry and our federal law enforcement partners, we will be relentless in our efforts to uncover and stop trade law evasion that undermines our economic competitiveness."
CBP's targeting unit, which specializes in the detection of evasion of antidumping and countervailing duty laws, identified the transshipment scheme in December 2009 after analyzing a commercial allegation. Analysts pursued the lead, piecing together information about a Mexican manufacturer who appeared to be involved in the alleged illegal scheme.
CBP targeting analysts requested enforcement action by the port of Otay Mesa. Port officials and CBP import specialists then worked with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the Department of Justice to build the case for prosecution.
The hangers were shipped from China to the U.S., sent to Mexico, and then imported back into the U.S. as products of Mexico. The 55-count indictment in the Southern District of California was for violations of 18 USC 371 (conspiracy), 18 USC 542 (entry of goods by means of false statements), 18 USC 1001 (false statements), 18 USC 1343 (wire fraud), and 18 USC 1956 (money laundering).
If you have knowledge of a violation of U.S. trade laws, please report it by filing an e-Allegation.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.