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VW to pay HIGHEST CBP PENALTY EVER, $1.45 Billion!

posted by Jennifer Diaz January 19, 2017 0 comments

Screen Shot 2017-01-18 at 11.48.28 AMOn January 11, 2017, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Attorney General announced the largest criminal and civil settlement ever against Volkswagen (VW) that totaled $4.3 billion. The breakdown of the settlement was $2.8 billion for the criminal penalty and $1.45 billion for a combined civil penalty for both the CBP and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Volkswagen agreed to plead guilty to three felony criminal counts and pay the $2.8 billion dollar penalty. The $1.45 billion combined settlement was for EPA’s “claim for civil penalties against VW in connection with VW’s importation and sale of these cars” as well as CBP’s claim for customs fraud.

CBP’s part of the $1.45 billion settlement dealt with a violation of 19 U.S.C. §1952, which “prohibits persons, by fraud, gross negligence or negligence, from entering or introducing, attempting to introduce, or aiding and abetting the entry or introduction of merchandise into the commerce of the United States, by means of statements or acts that are material and false, or by means of omissions which are material”.

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CBP’s Pointers on Exporting Used Vehicles

posted by Jennifer Diaz July 3, 2012 2 Comments

Last week, I attended a seminar hosted by U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) at the Miami Free Zone regarding exportation of used vehicles such as cars and automobiles. Here are the highlights:

CBP’s ’72-Hour Rule’
CBP regulations require the exporter of a vehicle to submit all export documents to the port of entry from which the vehicle will be exported at least 72 hours prior to export. Documentation for U.S.-titled vehicles include an original certificate of title. For used, self-propelled vehicles  a current Certificate of Title or a Salvage Title issued by any jurisdiction in the United States is required.

What if the car has ‘Foreign Title’?
For vehicles that are registered or titled abroad, the owner must provide to CBP the original document that provides satisfactory proof of ownership (with an English translation of the text if the original language is not in English), and two complete copies of that document (and translation, if necessary). Important Note: Failure to have translated copies on hand will result in CBP delaying your importation.

What if it’s a ‘Junk’ car?
Junk Cars mean vehicles not to be sold as a whole. Junk cars require salvage title or a certificate of destruction. Destruction documentation is provided on the state level. Note: Certificates of destruction can only be reassigned twice in the State of Florida.

What if there is a ‘Lien’?
If the car has an issue with title, like a lien, the interested third-party (lien holder’s) must provide a letter of authorization. The letter may be either signed or a stamp is acceptable. Note: You cannot import or export an automobile with a lien without this documentation.

CBP Emphasized the following: To import a vehicle under 19 C.F.R. §192, the vehicle must be:

  1. Used;
  2. Self Propelled; and
  3. Sold to someone other than a dealer.

What qualifies as ‘Used’?
Used” refers to “any self-propelled vehicle the equitable or legal title to which has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to an ultimate purchaser”. Note: Do not use the phrase ‘dealer to dealer’ when communicating with CBP because once a vehicle is classified as used once, CBP will never define it as ‘new’ again.

But what IS a ‘Self-Propelled’ vehicle’?
Self-propelled includes any automobile, truck, tractor, bus, motor home, self-propelled agricultural machinery, self-propelled construction equipment, self-propelled special use equipment, and any other self-propelled vehicle used or designed for running on land but not on rail. Snowmobiles, ATV’s, and motorcycles are also vehicles under CBP regulations.

What is NOT a ‘Self-Propelled’ vehicle?
Jet skis and boats fall under ‘watercraft’, and are not required to be presented as used vehicles under 19 CFR § 192. CBP does not consider trailers vehicles because they are not self-propelled. Trailers must be attached to a self-propelled vehicle to qualify. Trains are not considered vehicles, either.

What does “Someone Other Than a Dealer” mean?
A ‘dealer’ is defined at the state level in state laws. The ultimate purchaser cannot be a dealer. “Ultimate purchaser” means the first person, other than a dealer purchasing in his capacity as a dealer, who in good faith purchases a self-propelled vehicle for purposes other than resale. The thing to remember here is the ultimate purchaser cannot be a dealer. Note: A dealer cannot reassign title to itself. Further, Non-dealers cannot reassign Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin (MSO). If you are a dealer, you can reassign the same MSO over and over again and it is okay. More information on CBP’s vehicle importing regulations can be found here.

For more information regarding the requirements for exporting used vehicles and solutions to CBP compliance issues, contact attorney Jennifer Diaz at (305) 260-1053 or JDiaz@becker-poliakoff.com.

Jennifer Diaz is the Chair of the Customs and International Trade Department at Becker & Poliakoff, P.A. She earned her J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center. Jennifer is admitted to practice law in the state of Florida and is board-certified in International Law by the Florida Bar.

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How to Export Your Motor Vehicle From the United States

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog February 2, 2012 0 comments

Exporting your Motor Vehicle out of the U.S. – A Quick Guide

So you are moving abroad and want to bring your car with you? To comply with the provisions of 19 CFR Part 192, you will need to report this export to the Federal Government by presenting both the vehicle itself as well as a specific set of documents to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) at least three (3) days prior to export.

The following documents are required when exporting a traditional used motor vehicle abroad:

  1. Original Certificate of Title
  2. Original Letter of Intent – for vehicles exported by sea or air, a letter provided by the carrier and identifying the date of export (be aware of 72 hour rule), destination, vehicle owner, vehicle identification number, and authorized signature
  3. Export Power of Attorney – If the owner of the vehicle to be exported is not presenting the documents to CBP, a CBP Export Power of Attorney must be submitted and notarized, identifying the person submitting the documentation and signed by and identifying the ultimate purchaser/owner and the vehicle (by VIN).
  4. Letter of Authorization – If the vehicle to be exported is owned by a corporation, company or business entity, it must be accompanied by a notarized letter on official business letterhead authorizing an agent to act on its behalf.
  5. Lienholder Authorization – if the vehicle is leased or has a lien against it, there must be specific authorization allowing for the export of the vehicle on company letterhead.
  6. Copy of the photo identification of the person presenting the export documents.
  7. Copy of the photo identification of the owner of the vehicle if different from the presenter.

As always, if you are unsure, consult with a professional. Penalties for failure to comply with CBP’s export requirements, aside from the inability to export your vehicle, could include monetary fines, liquidated damages, seizure of the vehicle, and/or demand for redelivery of the vehicle.

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Knowing The Rules Of The Road: Exporting Cars From The U.S.

posted by Customs & International Trade Law Blog August 7, 2009 0 comments

 Exporting motor vehicles from the United States to foreign destinations is a common occurrence at many ports around the country, including South Florida’s ports. Whether exporting vehicles for business or personal use, it is important to know the procedures that U.S. Customs (“CBP”) expects you to follow. Not paying attention to the “rules of the road” can result in the seizure of your vehicle(s), and the imposition of hefty penalties.

If you are in the business of exporting cars, or plan to export a car to a foreign country for personal use, it is important to know two different sets of rules. Part 192 of Title 19 of the Code of Federal Regulations (“CFR”) contains the rules for exporting used vehicles. Used vehicles include any vehicle where legal title has been transferred by a manufacturer, distributor, or dealer to the person buying the car. These regulations explain the basic requirements for how to export cars, including the documentation that must be presented to CBP, such as a Power of Attorney, where a company or individual is shipping a motor vehicle on behalf of someone else. The regulations also describe how much it will cost in penalties if a person fails to submit the right documentation, or no documentation at all. The penalties can be severe – up to $10,000 where CBP determines the car was stolen, or the vehicle identification number (“VIN”) has been tampered with.

The second set of rules that you need to know are the port-specific requirements imposed by CBP. This can be tricky because the rules at different ports are not always the same. CBP’s Miami Seaport Vehicle Export Section has published a helpful Information Bulletin to assist exporters. The Bulletin describes where, when and how an individual must present documentation for exporting a vehicle from the Port of Miami. The Bulletin also contains a list of the most likely reasons that CBP will reject the export documentation, and prohibit a person from exporting a vehicle.

Anybody who desires to export a motor vehicle should know these rules and follow them carefully. The rejection of documentation by CBP can cause unnecessary delays and additional transactional costs, including storage fees. Failing to follow the rules of the road can even result in seizure of the vehicle(s) by the Government, and the assessment of significant penalties against the exporter.