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Whistleblowers play an important role in preventing evasion of both import and export duties. These days, much of their time is directed at fighting terrorism, money laundering and drug trafficking. That means whistleblowers play an even more critical role in fighting customs fraud and evasion. This year, approximately 75,555,555 containers are expected to enter the U. S. Customs and Border Patrol agents will inspect less than 7% and most of those inspections are looking for drugs and weapons. Even fewer outbound containers will be checked. The federal is almost as old as the first customs duties.

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Dating back to the Civil War, that law allows whistleblowers with inside “original source” information about fraud involving federal funds or programs to report the fraud by filing a claim in federal court. (These claims are sometimes called “qui tam lawsuits. ”) If the government or whistleblower’s legal team ultimately recover money, the whistleblower gets a percentage of those monies. To learn about whistleblower reward opportunities for reporting Customs Fraud, talk to a MahanyLaw Customs whistleblower lawyer for a confidential no-cost opinion: or Report OnlineMany tariffs, particularly anti-dumping tariffs, are country specific.

For example, the U. International Trade Commission has declared that wooden bedroom furniture made in China is being “dumped” in the U. At below cost. Worried that Chinese companies may simply put U. Furniture companies out of business (and then subsequently raise their prices, of course), special anti-dumping tariffs have been established for these products if made in China.

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A similar product made in France, however, might not be subject to the tariff. An entire industry has sprung up to hide the country of origin. Sometimes that means providing altered paperwork. The system is called the Harmonized Tariff Schedule or HTS. A company violates the False Claims Act if they misrepresent the nature or physical characteristics of imported goods in order to pay a lower duty or tariff.

By way of example, let’s say that alkaline batteries sets are subject to a 75% duty while other batteries have no duties. Some unscrupulous importers may try to claim that their alkaline batteries are simply some other type of batteries such as lithium or Ni-Cad simply to charge less. That puts legitimate battery makers at a real disadvantage since the dishonest company can sell for less money by cheating on the duties owed. There are any number of schemes designed to undervalue goods. Finding these schemes, however, is difficult for Customs agents.

Whistleblowers with inside information are by far the best eyes and ears for the government and its war on fraud. The U. That puts American businesses in danger of closing down. Certain foreign countries will intentionally try to subsidize an industry long enough so that they can dominate the world market. After the legitimate companies are forced out of business, the subsidized companies can then dramatically raise their prices since they will not face any competition.

Presently China is the subject of tremendous attention and scrutiny. Many industries including the U.

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