$15 Million Penalty on Importers for Alleged Evasion of AD Duties
Two Texas-based importers of furniture for student housing have agreed to pay $15 million to resolve a lawsuit brought under the False Claims Act alleging the evasion of antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture from China, according to a Dec. 21 press release from the Department of Justice. The DOJ alleged that between 2009 and mid-2012 these companies knowingly misclassified or conspired with others to misclassify the items as other types of furniture not subject to AD duties on documents presented to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
DOJ states that the allegations resolved by the settlement were originally brought by another company under the qui tam or whistleblower provisions of the FCA, which permits private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. government those who falsely claim federal funds or avoid paying funds owed to the government or cause or conspire in such conduct. The act also allows the whistleblower to receive a share of any funds recovered through the lawsuit, which in this case will amount to $2.25 million.