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Another Honey Broker Jailed for Duty Avoidance Scheme

Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement reports that a Texas honey broker has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for illegally brokering the sale of hundreds of container loads of Chinese-origin honey that was misrepresented as originating from India or Malaysia to avoid U.S. antidumping duties. The broker has already paid a total of $2.89 million in financial penalties, including a $250,000 fine, mandatory restitution of $97,625 and agreed restitution of $2.5 million.

An ICE press release states that according to court documents the broker caused transportation companies to deliver to U.S. honey processors and distributors 778 container loads of honey with an aggregate declared value of nearly $23 million whose origin was falsely declared. This resulted in the avoidance of nearly $38 million in AD duties and honey assessments. The broker also admitted selling purported Vietnamese honey that tested positive for the presence of chloramphenicol, an antibiotic not allowed in U.S. honey or other food products. After learning of the unfavorable test results, the broker obtained new test results that purported to show that the honey was not adulterated and directed that the unfavorable test results be destroyed.

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