Duties

Clothing Wholesaler Executive Avoids Paying Millions in Duties – Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

Mohamed Daoud Ghacham, a 40-year-old executive from California has been sentenced to 48-months in prison for customs fraud. Ghacham, who was at the helm of a Paramount-based clothing wholesale company, engaged in a deceitful scheme that allowed his business to sidestep paying millions in customs duties on imported garments.

United States District Judge Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong handed down the sentence, which also includes a restitution payment of $6,390,781.

The fraudulent operation involved importing clothing from China and presenting U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with a fraudulent second invoice with a lowered value. At Ghacham’s direction, Chinese suppliers would prepare two invoices for orders – a true invoice with the actual price paid and a fraudulent invoice with an understated price. Ghacham submitted the false invoices to CBP, allowing them to avoid millions of dollars in duties for over a decade.

Ghacham also faced charges related to conspiring to engage in transactions with a known narcotics trafficker.

The sentencing of Ghacham and his company concludes a comprehensive investigation by Homeland Security Investigations and CBP, with assistance from the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Export Enforcement, the Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control, and IRS Criminal Investigation.

This case underscores the U.S. government’s unwavering commitment to enforcing its customs laws and the severe consequences for those who choose to circumvent them.

Interested in learning more about CBP enforcement? Check out our upcoming webinar on the False Claims Act (FCA). We will discuss damages and criminal liability for making false claims to the government, whistleblower […]

By |2024-03-15T14:25:27-04:00March 15, 2024|Import, penalty|0 Comments

ICYMI: U.S. & Chinese Companies Fined $2.5 Million for Underpaying Customs Duties, Whistleblowers to Receive $500,000

Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas announced that a Dallas-based importer, two individuals, and two Chinese companies agreed to pay $2.5 million to resolve allegations that they failed to pay customs duties on imports.

Underpaying Through Duplicate Invoices

ADCO, a Dallas-based importer of industrial products, the company owner Raymond E. Davis, customs broker Calvin Chang, and Chinese companies Xiamen Atlantis MFC Co., Ltd. and Xiamen Taft Medical Co., Ltd conspired to underreport the value of goods they were importing.

The scheme involved falsifying invoices with low values for goods ADCO was importing from China. The company used a separate set of invoices that contained the correct value of goods to ensure that ADCO paid its suppliers the actual value of the goods.

In investigating the scheme, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise reviewed over 1,000 import entry lines.

Qui Tam Lawsuit

The settlement with the government resolved a “qui tam” lawsuit filed under the False Claims Act (FCA). A qui tam lawsuit is one that is brought by a private citizen or company against a defendant or defendants that owe money to the government.

When a qui tam lawsuit is successful, the party that initiated the case—called a “relator”—is entitled to a substantial monetary reward, ranging between 15% and 30% of the amount recovered for the government.  A qui tam lawsuit also engages the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) in the case, and typically results in the opening of […]

Proposed 25% Tariffs on Section 301 Digital Service Taxes – Comment Now

Background on Section 301 Digital Service Taxes

In 2020, the United States Trade Representative (“USTR”) initiated Section 301 investigations with respect to certain Digital Service Taxes (“DSTs”) being adopted or under consideration by a number of countries. DSTs are taxes on revenues that certain companies generate from providing certain digital services to users in those jurisdictions. According to USTR, available evidence suggests that DSTs are expected to target large, U.S.-based technology companies.

Section 301 of the U.S. Trade Act of 1974 authorizes the President to take all appropriate action including tariff-based and non-tariff-based retaliation to obtain the removal of any act, policy, or practice of a foreign government that violates an international trade agreement or is unjustified, unreasonable, or discriminatory, and that burdens or restricts U.S. commerce.

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PAYING CHINESE TARIFF’S & YOUR COMPETITORS AREN’T?

Now that the Section 301 tariffs are effective, importers are required pay additional duties – but not all are doing so. We found that while some importers know their product is subject to one of the 3 Chinese tariff lists, they are either using HTS’s not on the list (even though that is not the correct HTS for their product), or using an HTS subject to additional tariffs, but, not paying the additional tariffs. If you are an honest importer paying the correct amount of additional duties, this may leave you unable to compete in the current market.

If you’ve noticed that some of your competitor’s pricing has not been affected by the additional tariffs and you have been forced to increase your prices to stay in business, you have an option to help equal the playing field.

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U.S. issues additional Chinese Tariffs – Is Your Product on the List?/ EE.UU. Emite Aranceles Adicionales a Bienes Chinos: ¿Su Producto Está En La Lista?

On June 15, President Trump kept true to his May 29th promise of imposing additional tariffs against Chinese goods. The Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) has officially released the “Section 301 Product List”. The additional duties are effective on or after July 6, 2018.

History […]

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