Salt Lake City Customs & Duties Fraud Attorney

Providing Proficient & Personalized Legal Representation

When companies commit customs fraud, they both circumvent protections for domestic manufacturers and gain an advantage over competitors who pay the required duties. While the customs duty and tariff schedule in the United States is somewhat complex, the schemes to evade customs duties often fall into four basic categories.

These categories are as follows:

  • Misrepresenting country of origin: An importer will create false paperwork to claim goods have a different country of origin (usually one with which the United States has a free-trade agreement)
  • Misclassification of goods: An importer will falsely claim a shipment consists of different kinds of goods with lower import duties
  • Undervaluation of imported goods: An importer will fraudulently undervalue imported products. Since tariff rates are based on the declared value of goods, this allows companies to underpay their duty obligation.
  • Or, an importer will claim goods are merely being transshipped —they were not going to be put in the stream of commerce in the United States, but were merely coming through a U. S. port on their way to another destination in a different foreign country.

For example, in 2012, the Department of Justice in California filed criminal and civil complaints against shipping brokers using the port of Long Beach, California. The complaints alleged that importers brought commercial shipments of such things as Chinese-made apparel and cigarettes made in India into Long Beach, claiming that they were merely being warehoused on their way to Mexico and other countries. The defendants then generated paperwork and created electronic records to support this fiction, while simply shipping the material into commerce in the United States. One of the more important parts of the complaint also alleged that the growers or originators of produce would fraudulently alter or change documents after certain shipments tested positive for contaminants such as salmonella.

False Claims Act

All of these types of schemes are subject to action under the False Claims Act as well as other laws. They serve to deprive the United States government of proper oversight concerning imports of products and even food for human consumption and deprive the U. S. taxpayers of lawfully obtaining import and customs duties to support the government’s mission. This type of fraud often requires the involvement of many different participants such as the importers, customs brokers, and other entities involved. Often, these people assisting such schemes are indicted as co-conspirators.

Whistleblowers are essential to fighting customs and duties fraud, which is extremely difficult for the government to detect through other means. Competitors and employees are often able to discover evidence of fraud and misconduct that the government would otherwise be unaware of. The False Claims Act protects individuals who come forward to report fraud from retaliation and potentially receive a reward.

Contact us today at (801) 901-3470 to speak with one of our knowledgeable customs and duties fraud attorneys in Salt Lake City. Schedule your free consultation!

Testimonials

  • Eisenberg, Gilchrist and Cutt was invaluable in helping us through a difficult time. Our son was involved in a horrible accident and we weren't sure if he would survive. We were dealing with doctors, medical bills, and overwhelming emotions on how we would help our son recover. They answered every question we had and explained the entire process. They went above and beyond for our son and truly ...

    - Kali

  • Jacquelynn handled our case extremely well, she knew what needed to be done to get over an unfair problem with the insurance company and get the case moving and to a reasonable settlement. She had the knowledge of what needed to be done.

    - Yolanda

  • Ms. Carmichael and her team are professional, efficient, and courteous. Resources were expended in a thoughtful manner. Explanations were provided quickly and respectfully when needed. Should the situation arise, I will recommend Jacquelynn Carmichael to both friends and family

    - Former Client

  • We hired Eric for a personal injury case for my son. We were very pleased and satisfied with the level of commitment Eric showed to us and especially our son. He was aggressive to get answers and made us feel as ease with such a hard time in our lives. We felt confident in his ability from the moment we meet him and he did not disappoint. We feel he was very fair.

    - Brett

  • I would recommend Eric Olson to anyone. He was very professional and strived to educate me in making the best decisions when I had no idea how to decide what to do. He is very knowledgeable about his particular field of law and used that in my best defense. I am very pleased with the job that he did for me.

    - Lauren

  • I was in an auto accident three years ago. The first auto accident I have ever been in, but the other driver was ticketed. This lead to slow and obvious pain that grew worse. Doctors, surgery, shots, emotional trauma from not being able to physically do things I used to. That being said I want it known that Eric Olsen was so right for the lawyer to handle this case for me. I originally hired a ...

    - Jenann

Prev Next

Put Our Dedicated & Proven Team On Your Side

    • Please enter your name.
    • This isn't a valid phone number.
      Please enter your phone number.
    • This isn't a valid email address.
      Please enter your email address.
    • Please make a selection.
    • Please enter a message.
Request a Free Consultation