Noriega v. US

A truck owned and operated by CBP ran into a golf cart and injured Mr. Noriega. Mr. Noriega filed an administrative claim against CBP, which CBP rejected. Mr. Noriega sued CBP in the federal district court, but the court determined that the Mr. Noriega failed to meet the deadlines for filing an administrative claim or a lawsuit under the Federal Tort Claims Act. 

La Nica Product v. US

La Nica claimed preferential treatment for three shipments under Dominican Republic-Central America-United States Free Trade Agreement (DR-CAFTA) and listed itself as the importer of record, but then filed a Post-Entry Amendment (PEA) claiming that it sold the shipments on route to the USA and prior to entry to a US purchaser.  When La Nica failed to produce documents to support its DR-CAFTA claim, CBP rejected the PEA, and La Nica filed a protest, which CBP also rejected.  La Nica sued CBP but acknowledged it was not the importer of record after all. The court denied La Nica’s lawsuit on that ground.

US v Colabella

CBP detained and then seized two shipments of sunglasses from China.  After the manufacturers confirmed that these sunglasses were counterfeit, CBP sent a seizure/forfeiture notice to Mr. Colabella but Mr. Colabella never responded. The shipment was forfeited. CBP then issued a $132,000 penalty against Mr. Colabella, which Mr. Colabella refused to pay. CBP, through the US Department of Justice, sued to collect a mitigated amount of the penalty and then moved for summary judgment.  The court rejected the Government’s motion because Mr. Colabella tendered an affidavit claiming that the shipment was not his and that he knew nothing of its contents. 

XYZ Corporation vs. US/CBP

Duracell asked CBP to give it gray market protection against anyone trying to import certain batteries that Duracell sold overseas. CBP granted the application and banned the importation of certain Duracell batteries. The XYZ Corporation asked the court to enjoin CBP from enforcing the band, claiming that, except for the labels, the batteries that it intended to import were exactly the same as the batteries Duracell sold. The court rejected XYZ Corporation’s request, but allowed it to replead and rephrase its request and held out the possibility that an injunction was possible. 

US vs International Trading Service

CBP, or rather the US Government, sued an importer to collect a $1 million penalty for misclassifying eight shipments of sugar. The importer had chosen a tariff classification that excepted the sugar from an import quota that was in place. The court entered judgment in favor of CBP and against the importer and did not mitigate the penalty even though the importer had used a customs broker. 

Union Pacific Railroad vs. Pactrans Air & Sea 

The importer sued its logistics provider for failing to refund $5.8 million that the importer had delivered to the logistics provider.  In an ongoing relationship, the logistics provider would use the money from the importer to pay antidumping duties and for other customs services. In the latest shipment, the importer delivered $5.8 million to the logistics provider to pay antidumping duties, but before the logistics provider used the money to pay CBP, the International Trade Commission notified the importer that it did not owe antidumping duties after all. When the importer asked the logistics provider to refund its $5.8 million, the logistics provider did not deny it owed the money, but said that it was unable to pay it back. The logistics provider did not appear to fear a judgment against it if the judgment was contractual, but only if it was a tort, i.e., if it was a breach of the fiduciary duty. So when the importer sued, the logistics provider claimed that the relationship was purely contractual.  The court disagreed.  The logistics provider was working under the power of attorney from the importer and thereby obligated the logistics provider to act as a fiduciary on its principal’s behalf.


Former ICE Chief Counsel Pleads Guilty to Using the Identities of Numerous Aliens for Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft Scheme

Former Chief Counsel Raphael A. Sanchez of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Office of Principal Legal Advisor pleaded guilty for a wire fraud and aggravated identity theft scheme involving the identities of numerous undocumented people, announced Acting Assistant Attorney General John P. Cronan of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and ICE Deputy Director Thomas D. Homan.

Five Former Venezuelan Government Officials Charged in Money Laundering Scheme Involving Foreign Bribery

Charges were unsealed against five former Venezuelan government officials for their alleged participation in an international money laundering scheme involving bribes made to corruptly secure energy contracts from Venezuela’s state-owned and state-controlled energy company, Petroleos de Venezuela S.A. (PDVSA).  Two of the five defendants are also charged with conspiracy to violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. Agrees to Pay $500,000 to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Evaded Customs Duties

Home Furnishings Resource Group Inc. (HFRG) agreed to pay $500,000 to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China (PRC).  

Chinese National Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy and Trafficking of Counterfeit Apple Goods Into the United States

A Chinese national living in the United States on a student visa pleaded guilty for smuggling from China into the United States counterfeit Apple iPhones and iPads.

Texas Man Sentenced for Conspiring to Illegally Export Radiation Hardened Integrated Circuits to Russia and China

Peter Zuccarelli, 62, of Plano, Texas was sentenced to 46 months in prison for conspiring to smuggle and illegally export radiation hardened integrated circuits for use in the space programs of China and Russia. Zuccarelli was also sentenced to three years supervised release and a $50,000 fine.

Two Los Angeles-Area Men Charged with Conspiring to Illegally Obtain Technology and Computer Chips that Were Sent to China

Federal authorities arrested two Los Angeles men on federal charges that allege a scheme to illegally obtain technology and integrated circuits with military applications that were exported to a Chinese company without the required export license.

Bassett Mirror Company Agrees to Pay $10.5 Million to Settle False Claims Act Allegations Relating to Evaded Customs Duties

Virginia-based home furnishings company, Bassett Mirror Company, agreed to pay the United States $10.5 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by knowingly making false statements on customs declarations to avoid paying antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the People’s Republic of China.   

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