The False Claims Act: Get Paid to Expose Fraud & Unfair Competition, Protect Yourself from an Investigation

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!! UPCOMING False Claims Act Webinar !!

Learn how to expose fraud, blow the whistle on unfair competition, and avoid being the target of an FCA investigation

May 9, 2024 | 12:00 PM ET

Speakers: Jennifer Diaz, President &Dana Watts, Of Counsel, Diaz Trade Law and Jonathan Tycko, Partner, Tycko & Zavareei LLP

Register HERE.

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The False Claims Act (FCA) is a powerful federal anti-fraud law that incentivizes average people to expose fraud. The law attempts to reward whistleblowers and disincentivize committing fraud and can be used to expose customs fraud.

What is the False Claims Act?

The FCA, 31 U.S.C. §§ 3729 – 3733, is a federal statute enacted in 1863 in response to defense contractor fraud during the Civil War.

The FCA provides that any person who knowingly submits, or causes to submit, false claims to the government is liable for three times the government’s damages plus a penalty. Conspiring to commit these acts also is a violation of the FCA.

The FCA allows the U.S. government to investigate perpetrators of fraud directly, but it also provides an avenue for private citizens to become whistleblowers and expose fraud.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) obtained more than $2.68 billion in settlements and judgments involving fraud and false claims in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2023.

The FCA and International Trade

The FCA is commonly used to prosecute financial crime such as misuse of federal grants and healthcare related claims. However, in recent years the FCA has been increasingly used to allege customs duty […]

Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum RECAP

On July 11, 2023, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) held the Green Trade Innovation and Incentives Forum, the agency’s first conference that covered CBP’s Green Trade Strategy and related sustainable trade issues. The CBP Green Trade Strategy was formulated by the World Customs Organization (WCO) in Brussels in June of 2022 and serves as the agency’s action plan for addressing climate change’s impact on global trade. The Green Trade Strategy seeks to create business incentives that promote green investment and innovation but also includes ramped-up environmental enforcement efforts. The conference participants included multiple senior officials from CBP, and its partner agencies, as well as top executives from leading industry organizations. 

Green Trade Incentives: 

AnnMarie Highsmith, Executive Assistant Commissioner for CBP’s Office of Trade explained that the Green Strategy rests on four pillars: 

  1. Incentivizing Green Trade

  2. Strengthening environmental enforcement posture

  3. Accelerating green innovation

  4. Improving climate resilience and resource efficiency 

The first and third pillars refer to CBP’s efforts to work with its partner government agencies and industry leaders to remove barriers to sustainable trade and to promote green innovation. Multiple industry leaders at the conference proposed ways that CBP could create incentive structures that reduce the carbon footprint of global supply chains and promote green innovation.  

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U.S. Customs – Your Personal Policeman at the Border

Introduction 

Many companies mistakenly believe that registering a trademark or copyright with the U.S. Government provides sufficient protection and remedies. However, there is an additional step that can significantly enhance protection—recording trademarks or copyrights with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Customs).  

This blog explores the distinct goals of these processes and the advantages of recording intellectual property with the U.S. Customs. 

I. Registering with USPTO and Recording with U.S. Customs: Different Goals

  • Registering with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or U.S. Copyright Office gives public notice of ownership. 
  • Recording with U.S. Customs aims to prevent unauthorized importation of merchandise bearing the registered intellectual property. 
  • U.S. Customs serves as a critical partner in halting counterfeit and infringing products from entering or leaving the United States.

II. Benefits of Recording Trademarks or Copyrights with U.S. Customs

Seizure and Monitoring: 

  • U.S. Customs monitors and seizes infringing merchandise at ports of entry, alleviating the burden on trademark or copyright holders. 
  • This proactive approach eliminates the need to individually locate and prosecute every unauthorized importer, distributor, or retailer, safeguarding intellectual […]

Customs and Trade Law Weekly Snapshot

Here is a recap of the latest customs and international trade law news:

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UFLPA DHS Forced Labor Guidance – What Importers Need to Know

On June 17,  2022, DHS published its long-awaited strategy guidance document which shed light on how UFLPA will be implemented, and what evidence may be provided to rebut the presumption that the goods were made with forced labor. This article provides an overview of the type of evidence importers should have readily available when importing goods into the United States. For general guidance on preventing the importation of goods produced with forced labor and how importers should audit their supply chain to ensure non-use of forced labor, please refer to our Bloomberg Law article, “U.S. Customs Targets Use of Forced Labor”.

UFLPA

The Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) establishes a rebuttable presumption that goods mined, produced, or manufactured wholly or in part in the Xinjiang Province of China or by an entity on the UFLPA Entity List are prohibited from importation into the United States under 19 U.S.C. § 1307. However, if an Importer of Record can demonstrate by clear and convincing evidence that the goods in question were not produced wholly or in part by forced labor, fully respond to all CBP requests for information about goods under CBP review and demonstrate that it has fully complied with the guidance outlined in this strategy, the Commissioner of CBP may grant an exception to the presumption.

Clear and convincing evidence is a higher standard of proof than a preponderance of the evidence, and generally means that a claim or […]

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