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A U.S. company has agreed to pay $15 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by engaging in a years-long scheme to evade antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from China through misclassification, according to an April 27 press release from the Department of Justice. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske said that under the recently enacted Trade Facilitation and Trade Enforcement Act “CBP will likely see an increase in these types of settlements as the streamlined processes take effect concerning allegations of duty evasion.”
The press release states that the allegations resolved by the settlement were originally brought by a whistleblower under the qui tam provisions of the FCA, which permits private parties to sue on behalf of the U.S. those who falsely claim federal funds or, as in this case, those who avoid paying funds owed to the government or cause or conspire in such conduct. The FCA also allows whistleblowers to receive a share of any funds recovered, which in this case will be $2.4 million.
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