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Company Fined $10,000 for Transacting Customs Business Without a Broker’s License

Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

The Court of International Trade issued Jan. 21 a decision imposing a $10,000 fine against a Louisiana corporation charged with transacting customs business without a broker’s license.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection alleged that between June 2009 and January 2010 the company intentionally paid duties and fees on behalf of non-related parties for 19 entries of merchandise. CBP also argued that the company held itself out to the public as having in-house customs broker services despite not holding a corporate customs broker’s license, although it did retain an employee with a broker’s license. After being denied remission or mitigation of the $10,000 penalty CBP consequently demanded, the company allegedly ignored four separate bills for the penalty issued by CBP.

The CIT determined that the activities engaged in by the company are included in the scope of customs business and that CBP has alleged facts sufficient to support the conclusion that the company conducted these activities without the requisite corporate broker’s license. The court also found that CBP complied with statutory provisions requiring it to issue a pre-penalty notice giving the company 30 days to respond before imposing a monetary penalty. The court therefore awarded CBP the $10,000 penalty plus post-judgment interest and costs, including the fee for service of the summons and complaint.

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