Ford Motor Company Settles Claims Relating to Under-Valued Vehicles for $365M

Ford Motor Company has agreed to pay $365 million for allegedly misclassifying and understating the value of hundreds of thousands of vehicles.

According to the Department of Justice, Ford engaged in a scheme to avoid higher duties by misclassifying cargo vans. Between 2009 and 2013, the company imported Transit Connect cargo vans into the United States but presented them to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) with temporary seats and other features to make them appear to be passenger vehicles. The seats were never intended to carry passengers and Ford removed them as part of post-importation processing. The inclusion of the seats allowed Ford to avoid paying the 25% duty rate for cargo vehicles and instead they paid a duty rate of just 2.5%.

This case dates back to February 2012 when the Port of Baltimore advised Ford it was initiating an investigation into Ford’s classification practices. (Typically, prior to investigating an entity, CBP sends a request for information first. For more information on how this process typically begins read “Now, More than Ever, Be Wary of and Responsive to a CBP Form 28!”).

In 2013 Customs determined that the vans were improperly classified and liquidated the vehicles at the 25% duty rate. Ford protested, and Customs denied the protest. Ford then filed a complaint with the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT). The CIT agreed with Ford, finding that Ford engaged in legitimate tariff engineering. The government appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit where […]

By |2024-03-15T14:50:57-04:00March 15, 2024|Import, Penalty|Comments Off on Ford Motor Company Settles Claims Relating to Under-Valued Vehicles for $365M

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 |2024-03-15T14:26:30-04:00March 15, 2024|Import, Penalty|Comments Off on Clothing Wholesaler Executive Avoids Paying Millions in Duties – Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

Customs and Trade Law Weekly Snapshot

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

CBP 

  • In Fiscal Year 2021, CBP at the LA/Long Beach Seaport seized More Than $760 Million in Counterfeit and Prohibited Products, a 652% increase over the previous year.
  • CBP issues guidance regarding the extension of product exclusions from additional Section 301 China duties on certain medical-care products to address COVID-19.
  • With changes to the HTSUS classification systems possibly coming as early as January 1, 2021, U.S. importers should review their classifications and ensure compliance with U.S. regulations

BIS

China

Trading in Wildlife? You May Need a License

The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (“CITES”) is an international agreement that strives to ensure that international trade in wild animals and plants does not threaten the survival of those species. CITES was adopted by 80 countries in 1973. The text of the agreement provides for various measures to prevent the illicit trade in goods made of endangered species. Specifically, CITES imposes controls on all import, export, re-export, and introduction from the sea, of species covered by the agreement, to be authorized through a licensing system. The species that fall within the scope of CITES are listed and maintained in three appendices based on the degree of protection required.

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By |2021-10-26T12:23:00-04:00October 26, 2021|Import, International Trade, Penalty, Pre-compliance, Reasonable Care, Supply Chain, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS)|Comments Off on Trading in Wildlife? You May Need a License

How to Build and Maintain an Effective Import Compliance Plan

CBP enforcement is on the rise.  If your business is importing into the U.S., or wants to start, our one-hour, NEI accredited, webinar on “Building & Maintaining an Effective Import Compliance Plan”  will provide best practices and TOP tips to build an import compliance plan.

Register today to to hear directly from Senior Trade Advisor, Don Woods, DTL’s president, Jennifer Diaz, and Associate Attorney, Denise Calle as they discuss real life stories, current trends/risks associated with the import process, proactive ways to stay compliant, and the importance of training to avoid costly encounters with CBP. […]

Customs Valuation 101

What is Valuation and Why Does it Matter? Customs Valuation is a procedure to determine the customs value of imported goods. The customs value is essential to calculate the total duty to be paid on an imported good. Because there was a need for the international community to have a standardized system for valuing imports, many nations became signatories to a World Trade Organization (“WTO”) agreement that established valuation norms known as the Tokyo Round Valuation Code (later amended into the WTO Agreement on Implementation of Article VII of the GATT 1994).

The United States was a signatory to these treaties and currently maintains and enforces a rigorous valuation system. The U.S. Customs valuation methodology (as well as a summary of relevant Customs rulings) are described in detail in the Valuation Encyclopedia. A common customs valuation standard is important because it ensures that:

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Jennifer Diaz Presenting at Global Trade Educational Conference 2021

The NCBFAA Educational Institute invites all global logistics professionals to its 7th Annual Global Trade Educational Conference (GTEC). This two-day event in  Baltimore, MD will give customs brokers, freight forwarders, NVOCCs, OTI, service providers, importers, exporters and all global logistics professionals an opportunity to update themselves on industry developments and connect with colleagues new and old.

Join us IN PERSON in Baltimore, MD, July 26-27, 2021. NCBFAA NEI and hotel staff will be complying with all state and venue COVID-19 protocols so you can feel safe attending the event! Virtual attendance is available, so you can gain knowledge from anywhere!

REGISTER TODAY!

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REGISTER TODAY! NEI Accredited Webinar Importing 101 – Introduction to U.S. Customs

Webinar Importing 101 Introduction to US CustomsWhether you are new to importing or seasoned, this one-hour webinar is a must attend. Register today to hear directly from this specialized, expert trio on the “Top 10 Tips When Importing to Ensure Compliance” with real case studies:

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UK Joins Kimberley Diamond-Trading Process

What’s the Kimberley Process?

Established in 2003, the Kimberley Process (“KP”) is a multilateral trade regime created to prevent the flow of conflict diamonds. Conflict diamonds, also known as “blood” diamonds, are rough diamonds used by rebel movements or their allies to finance armed conflicts aimed at undermining legitimate governments. Under the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme, participant states implement safeguards on shipments of rough diamonds and certify them as “conflict-free.” The regime is credited with removing 99.8 percent of conflict diamonds from the global supply chain. The Process comprises 83 countries, and a number of civil society organizations and industry associations. The participants include all major rough diamond producing, exporting and importing countries.

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By |2021-10-12T15:00:43-04:00February 2, 2021|Best Practices, Customs Expert, Enforcement, Export, International Trade, Labor Rights, Penalty|Comments Off on UK Joins Kimberley Diamond-Trading Process

Diaz Trade Law Operations During the Coronavirus

Pic CDCAs information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to rapidly evolve, we at Diaz Trade Law want to assure you that providing you the best service remains our top priority. We have received many calls asking if we are still working on cases and taking on new cases. The answer is, yes. To schedule a consultation, please contact info@diaztradelaw.com.

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By |2021-03-26T12:22:12-04:00March 23, 2020|Best Practices, China, Currency Seizure, Customs Expert, Import, International Law, IPR, Trademarks and Logos, Penalty, Seizures, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP)|Comments Off on Diaz Trade Law Operations During the Coronavirus
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