In one of the most important recent decisions, the U.S. Court of International Trade dismissed a case filed against the CEO of his importing company that had made false statements to U.S. Customs and Border Protection in the entry documents. This Court decision has significant implications for every owner, officer, and manager of any company involved in importing merchandise into the United States.
The chronology of the case is somewhat familiar. In 2002, Tip Top Pants, Inc., imported from Mexico 954 dozen men’s pants, and claimed NAFTA duty free treatment. Customs issued a Request for Information (CBP form 28), and then a Notice of Action (CBP Form 29) denying the NAFTA claim. Customs then issued a Pre-Penalty Notice against both Tip Top Pants and its CEO, Mr. Nigri, alleging negligence, and assessing a penalty of $55,000. Tip Top filed a response to the Pre-Penalty Notice. Customs then issued a final Penalty Notice. Tip Top Pants filed with Customs another petition seeking cancellation or mitigation of the penalty. Customs never responded to that Petition filed by Tip Top Pant’s attorney.
Even though the disputed customs duties were subsequently paid by Tip Top Pants, Customs sued both Tip Top Pants, Inc. and its Chairman and CEO, Mr. Saad Nigri, for violating 19 U.S.C. 1592, by allegedly making material false statements or acts, or material omissions, in connection with the entry of the men’s pants from Mexico.
The Court took the unusual action of dismissing Mr. Nigri as a defendant in the case for two reasons. The first reason is that Customs failed to […]