Articles Tagged with Customs evasion

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Furniture merchant, turned whistleblower Kelly Renee Wells of Alabama, will receive nearly two million dollars for revealing revealed that larger retailers were evading import tariffs on furniture made in China by misclassifying the bedroom furniture as living room or hall furniture in order to evade “dumping” duties. One of the companies she sued, Bassett Mirrors, Inc.  just settled the claims against it for $10.5 Million. Last year, its co-defendant Z Gallerie of California settled its case for $15 million. Federal prosecutors intervened in the cases against Bassett and Z Gallerie but have not intervened in the two co-defendants left, Neiman Marcus and Macy’s. Ms. Wells was the source of information for both companies that settled.

Ms. Wells Attorney, Page Pate, says that he intends on pursuing Macy’s on his own for whistleblower Wells. The duties imposed by the U.S. Commerce Department are designed to protect domestic manufacturers from Chinese manufacturers who were dumping wooden bedroom furniture into the U.S. market. The case is part of a much larger picture involving extensive tariff evasion concerning Chinese goods including the dumping of honey some of this is adulterated by sweeteners and antibiotics not approved by the FDA. Thousands of barrels of fake honey is being transshipped from China through Taiwan and other countries with false documents in order to evade dumping duties.

The Department of Justice stated in its announcement of the settlement against Z Gallerie in April 2016 that it resolved allegations that Z Gallerie evaded antidumping duties on wood bedroom furniture imported from China from 2007-1014 by misclassifying or conspiring with others to misclassify the imported furniture as pieces intended for non-bedroom use on documents presented to Customs and Border Protection.

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Bassett Mirror Company, has agreed to pay the United States $10.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the Justice Department announced today.   

The United States says that between January 2009 and February 2014, Bassett Mirror evaded duties owed on wooden bedroom furniture that the company imported from the PRC by knowingly misclassifying the furniture as non-bedroom furniture on its official import documents.  Antidumping duties protect against foreign companies “dumping” products on the U.S. market at prices below cost.  The Department of Commerce assesses, and the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border Protection collects, these duties to protect U.S. businesses and level the playing field for domestic products.  Imports of PRC-made wooden bedroom furniture have been subject to antidumping duties since 2004.  At the time of the alleged conduct in this case, wooden bedroom furniture from the PRC was subject to a 216 percent antidumping duty; non-bedroom furniture was not subject to an antidumping duty.

“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,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler for the Justice Department’s Civil Division.  “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.”