$1.3 million of counterfeit currency seized in Chicago.

Image of seized currency, source: CBP.gov

Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in the Chicago International Mail Facility seized a shipment from the Ukraine containing more than $1.3 million in funny money. The exporters from the Ukraine labeled the shipment of 13,957 $100 bills as “prop money”.

While many importers believe the words or marking of currency as “prop money” means they can be imported – CBP considers any counterfeit of US currency a violation of the federal law prohibiting the reproduction of currency. CBP then turned over the money to Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) for investigation.

In general, if CBP turns a case over to HSI and/or the USSS, then the importer is likely subject to criminal penalties instead of the usual civil penalties.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact seizure attorney David Hsu by phone at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Operation Mega Flex – $8 million in counterfeit watches seized.

Counterfeit watches, sources: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. CBP officers in Ohio seized 11 counterfeit Richard Mille watches from Hong Kong with the ultimate end user in New Orleans. See image above of the seized watches.

The seizures in Ohio and the other intellectual property rights violations seizures are part of CBP’s efforts to stop unfair Chinese trade practices and protect US businesses. This operation is known as “Operation Mega Flex and has resulted in 4,200 seizures of goods in the past 15 months”.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Unregulated tire rims from Thailand seized.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Minnesota seized 2,500 tire rims from Thailand. The shipment from Thailand was labeled as “steel wheels” but CBP officers instead found wheel rims. Photos of the wheels were sent to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) where it was determined the company was not a registered manufacturer and therefore not admissible.

Image of non NHTSA-approved rims, source: CBP.gov

If you have had your goods seized for this or any other NHTSA violation, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com to discuss your options.

$838,481 in unreported currency seized by Customs.

Image of $838k in seized currency, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release. CBP officers at the Roma, Texas Port of Entry seized more than $838,000 in unreported currency hidden in a vehicle heading out of the US.

As you are aware, all currency and monetary instruments $10,000 or more need to be reported. In this case, CBP officers seized stacks of cash totaling $838,481 in unreported currency concealed within a 2016 Chevrolet Colorado.

After seizing the currency – CBP referred the case to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI). In general, if your case is referred to HSI – then there is likely a criminal case.

If you have had your currency seized by Customs, contact our office immediately – there are time limits regarding the seizures – call or text David Hsu directly at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

1,300 pounds of “mooncakes” seized by CBP Agriculture.

Seized mooncakes, source: CBP.gov

According to a Customs media release, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agriculture specialists in Cincinnati seized 1,300 pounds of mooncakes during “Special Operation Over the Moon”.

This operation was named “Over the Moon” as the operation occurs prior to the Chinese Mid-Autumn Festival on October 1st.

Mid-Autumn festival celebrates the time where the moon is at its largest and brightest – known as the harvest moon to symbolize harvest time in the fall. The festival dates back more than 3,000 years and continues to this day.

“Mooncakes” are given to family members and people you do business with – the moon cakes are pastries filled with lotus seeds, bean paste or duck yolk eggs. And the duck yolk eggs are the cause for the special operation. The egg products are believed to pose a risk to American agriculture because China and other Southwest Asian countries may be at greater risk for Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and Virulent Newcastle Disease (vND).

Author’s unpopular opinion – moon cakes aren’t that great – they aren’t sweet and there is something unappealing about an egg baked inside a thick pastry that is not sweet. If you have to eat one, get one filled with red bean. The red bean paste makes the pastry sweet.

The images provided by CBP shows CBP officers intercepting and destroying mooncakes with the egg yolk center.

Have you had your goods seized by Customs, contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

Louisville CBP seizes fake shoes, handbags and clothes.

Counterfeit goods seized, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville seized a shipment described as “women’s clothes”. Upon further examination, CBP officers found designer shoes, handbags and clothes. Based off the appearance of the goods, a CBP import specialist examined the goods and determined 95 items were counterfeit and therefore seized. If authentic, the shipment from Vietnam destined to California was valued at $193,740.

If Customs has seized your goods and issued you a penalty notice for importing counterfeit goods, contact David Hsu for your options – call/text anytime at 832-896-6288 or by email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

$1.1 million in counterfeit goods seized in Kentucky.

Counterfeit goods seized, source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers in Louisville seized five shipments containing counterfeit goods, if authentic would be worth more than $1.1 million.

On that day, CBP seized multiple shipments, with 5 separate shipments containing: 30 “Louis Vuitton” toes, 4 “Dior” handbags, 2 “Gucci” handbags, 200 “YSL” purses and another 366 “LV” bags. The last shipment contained a box with Louis Vuitton wallets.

When Customs detains goods for suspicion of counterfeit goods, CBP will submit photos or send samples to the trademark or other intellectual property rights holder. Almost 100% of the time the trademark holder will notify Customs the importer of record does not have a right to import the covered goods. If so, then Customs will seize the goods and send a “Notice of Sezizure” to the importer of record.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, call David Hsu or text anytime at 832-896-6288 or email attorney.dave@yahoo.com.

CBP seizes counterfeit Air Pods and Apple watches.

Seized counterfeit Apple watches, source: CBP.gov

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Chicago inspected and seized seven boxes from Hong Kong containing 423 smart watches and 200 earphones. With suspected intellectual property seizures, CBP will send photos or samples of the items to the Electronics Center of Excellence and Expertise (Electronics CEE). The CEE will then verify with the property rights holder if the importer was authorized to use the word mark. 100% of the time the property rights holder will reply the importer of record is not authorized to import the goods and the entire shipment will be seized.

In addition to registering the “Apple”, “iPhone” with Customs, companies can also protect the shape, design, form and function of the items. For example, the photo above shows the same shape and design of an Apple Watch. CBP estimates the value of the shipment, if authentic would be approximately $204,168.

What happens after a seizure?
If you are an importer, after a seizure, CBP will send you a “Notice of Seizure”. You will then have 30 days to respond to the Notice of Seizure, if you do not – then Customs will begin forfeiture of your goods.

Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com if you have received a seizure notice to discuss your options.

Get a refund of your List 3 and List 4A duties paid.

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Photo by John Guccione http://www.advergroup.com on Pexels.com

A recent lawsuit filed in Federal court will address the question whether President Trump and his Administration lawfully imposed additional “trade war” duties on certain goods imported from China. The lawsuit alleges the goods included on “List 3” and “List 4A” were unlawfully enacted – and as such, importers who paid for the List 3 and 4A duties are entitled to a refund of duties paid with interest.

More specifically, the case of HMTX Industries LLC, et. al., v. US will determine whether the US did not comply with the applicable law when implementing the List 3 and List 4A duties on certain imports from China.

Importers who wish to preserve their opportunity to receive future refunds must act quickly to file their own “piggyback” actions in the CIT, as the lawsuit alleges a 2 year limitations period expiring Monday, September 21, 2020.

David Hsu and the trade law firm of Givens & Johnston stand ready to immediate file both CIT actions and CBP protests. To get the process started, contact David Hsu directly by phone/text to 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com,

Counterfeit championship sports rings seized.

Seized counterfeit rings.

In early August, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officer seized a package containing 62 counterfeit championship rings in Chicago. The shipment from Shanghai China was destined for a store in Aurora.

CBP officers detained and examined the rings before sending them to an import specialist to verify authenticity. Customs noted the poor quality, poor packaging, low declared value and typical security features found on licensed merchandise.

Customs seized the goods, that if authentic, would have been valued at more than $93,600.

Author’s note – while this shipment was destined to go to a store address, my guess is the purchaser of these items was likely a collector searching for a novelty item to collect – instead of buying the rings to re sell to unsuspecting buyers. Championship rings are well documented and easy to verify authenticity. Also, a buyer of these rings would want to know the history of the prior owner and authenticity can be verified by any jeweler. Highly doubt a real collector would be fooled by these cheap knockoffs.

If you have had your goods seized by Customs, contact attorney David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at attorney.dave@yahoo.com.