Customs seizes $4.4 million in counterfeit products in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.

counterfeit seizure

Images of the seized items. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) news release – Customs agents in Puerto Rico seized counterfeit products with an estimated msrp of $15 million dollars with an actual purchase price of $4.4 million.

In another seizure, CBP officers conducted a 6-day operation in January where they seized 73 packages with intellectual property rights violations totaling $1.8 million.

In a 6-day special operation this January, CBP officers intercepted 73 packages with IPR violations valued at an estimated MSRP of $1. 8 million.

The seized items included counterfeit watches, jewelry, bags, clothing, sunglasses and featured luxury brands such as Pandora, Tous, Nike, Rolex, Hublot, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, etc.

The rest of the news releases restates the danger of using and buying counterfeit goods and the impact of counterfeit goods on business revenue while also saying the proceeds from counterfeit purchases fund illicit businesses.

If you have a customs seizure for alleged IPR violations, contact experienced seizure attorney David Hsu at dh@gjatradelaw.com or call/text: 832-896-6288.

CBP Seizes $129k in counterfeit goods.

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Screenshot of seized goods. Source: CBP.gov

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release, CBP officers seized $129,000 worth of counterfeit consumer goods. The seizure occurred at Dulles International Airport in late December when someone picked up a shipment described as “shoes bags scars”.

CBP officers examined the shipment and found 90 items of designer brand name shoes, bags, purses, belts and scarves. The officers suspected the shipments to be counterfeit and detained the merchandise.

Typically – CBP will send photos to the trademark holder to verify authenticity.  And as expected, most (all) trademark holders will determine the items to be counterfeit.

If you have had a counterfeit seizure, currency seizure or other detention/seizure by Customs, contact experienced trade and seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Is US Customs and Border Protection shut down during the government shutdown?

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Short answer – not really. 54,935 of the 60,109 total CBP employees are designated as exempt and will be working (although without pay). These 54,935 CBP workers along with an approximate 33,065 Department of Homeland Security employees comprise about 88,000 workers reporting for work without pay during the shutdown (but will get back pay after the shutdown ends).

Border patrol agents, border operations at the over 400+ ports of entry will continue to function. However, if you read this blog, you may notice I often get my information from the CBP media release page, and since the shutdown, nothing has been posted by CBP.

Check back for any other CBP shut down news that may impact you and your business.

CHS Inc. SEC filing discloses FCPA violations.

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Tell me more about the CHS FCPA violation:
In an August 31, 2018 Form 10-K filing with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), CHS Inc. disclosed FCPA violations related to:

“a small number of reimbursements the Company made to Mexican customs agents in the 2014-2015 time period for payments the customs agents made to Mexican customs officials in connection with inspections of grain crossing the U.S.-Mexican border by railcar. We are fully cooperating with the government, including with the assistance of legal counsel, which assistance includes investigating other areas of potential interest to the government. We are unable at this time to predict when our or the government agencies’ review of these matters will be completed or what regulatory or other outcomes may result.”

The full 10-K filing can be found here (link opens in a new window).

Who is CHS?
CHS is a Fortune 100 business based in Minnesota and operates food processing and wholesale, farm supply, Cenex brand fuel, financial services, and retail businesses. CHS employs 12,000 people and are also large operators in grain, soybean and sunflower production and transport.

What is the FCPA?
In short – the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Payments, promises to pay or even authorization for payment is a violation and the definition of a foreign official is also very broad.

What does the FCPA have to do with importers and exporters?
Everything! The FCPA applies to all U.S. persons and many of our clients have FCPA risks without even knowing they do. FCPA violations and penalties are severe and individuals have also been found to be personally liable for violations that were committed by the company. The CHS FCPA violations highlight just some of the risks US based exporters face when doing business (exporting) overseas.

FCPA consultation and audit at no obligation or cost to you.
If you don’t have a FCPA compliance program in place or have not updated your compliance program – call experienced trade and compliance attorney David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

The FCPA penalties and compliance risk to you and your company is high, call David Hsu today.

 

 

Emergency Action Notice for Wood Packaging Materials – Increased CBP Enforcement!

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Since late 2017, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has increased their enforcement of regulations surrounding the use of Wood Packaging Materials (WPM) in shipments entering the US.

In a September 25, 2017 message, CBP began imposing penalties for a 1st violation of the WPM regulations (7 C.F.R. 319.40 – 3). This news is significant as penalties under 19 U.S.C. 1595a or 1592 can be enormous. In addition to these penalties, monetary loss also results from from having to export entire shiploads of cargo, even when just a small portion of it is in violation. Frequent violations in the WPM regulations are regarding improper markings or pests. CBP will always inspect shipments containing WPM for a proper mark and the presence of any invasive pests.

There is a lot of plant construction underway along the Gulf coast. Shiploads of wood packaged steel structures have been halted by Customs at the port and directed to immediately export.

The first indication of a problem is if you receive an “Emergency Action Notice” (EAN) from Customs. The EAN will typically require the immediate exportation of the cargo at great expensive to the importer, the manufacturer and at a great hassle to all parties involved (broker, shipper, forwarder, manufacturer, vendor, seller, buyer, etc!).

If you have received an Emergency Action Notice, contact experienced trade and WPM attorney David Hsu by phone or text at 832-896-6288 or by email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. Time is of the essence for these WPM cases and call us for immediate options.

 

Customs agent charged with falsifying ship inspection records.

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According to the Virginian-Pilot, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agricultural specialist agent was charged with falsifying ship inspection forms on three separate occasions since 2015.

A CBP agricultural specialist is tasked with checking containers and trucks for agricultural or packaging materials that might contain invasive pests and also check wood packaging materials for larvae or inspects that could impact the native trees and nursery. In short, an agricultural specialist will make sure wood packaging materials, fruits and vegetables arrive into the US pest-free.

According to an indictment filed in the case, former-agent, Carl James Jr. falsified ship inspection forms on two ships: the CMA CGM Dalila and the OOCL Chongqing and one bulk carrier ship – the Pontovremon.

James’ set to appear in court on July 13th.

If you or anyone you know has had their shipment detained due to pests or invasive species found in wood packaging materials, or you have received an Emergency Action Notice (EAN) from Customs or you have had a seizure due to a failed agricultural inspection – contact experienced trade and customs attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or by email at: dhsu@givensjohnston.com.

Philadelpha CBP seize 100 counterfeit Yeti mugs.

Yeti Screengrab

Screengrab of the Yeti.com website.

According to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) media release on June 19th, CBP officers in Philadelphia seized 100 counterfeit mugs branded with the name of the poular cooler company Yeti.

The items were shipped from Hong Kong, China in April and labeled “fishing reel iron products”. CBP noted the “poor packaging” and “substandard quality” and detained the shipment.

After a shipment is detained, Customs will usually send a sample or photos to the trademark/word mark holder to verify authenticity of the mark. In this case, Yeti likely replied and told CBP the items were counterfeit.

In the event the trademark holder notifies CBP of the unauthorized use of a registered mark, CBP will seize the items and send a “Notice of Seizure” to the importer of record.

Philadelphia CBP has been busy with five counterfeit seizures in the past 3 months. Prior seizures included counterfeit jewelry and luxury watches.

If you have had your shipments seized by Customs, and you receive a “Notice of Seizure”, you should take action – call experienced seizure attorney, David Hsu at 832-896-6288 or by  email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com. CBP seizures do not just go away and you may expose yourself and your company to personal, criminal and civil liability – call today!

 

 

 

 

CBP seizes combined $152k in unreported currency from two travelers in April 2018.

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Courtesy CBP.gov Website

According to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), officers at the Philadelphia International Airport seized a combined total of 152,342 in unreported currency from two travelers departing out of who recently departed PHL.

As a general rule, travelers can carry as much currency (cash, checks, money orders, or other monetary instruments), but MUST report all amounts totaling $10,000 or more on a U.S. Department of Treasury financial form.

The first seizure took place on April 1st, where a traveler headed to Turkey was seized with $46,500 and the second seizure occurred on April 7th, where a traveler to Ghana had possessed $105,842.

If you or anyone you know has had cash seized at the airport, contact experienced currency seizure attorney David Hsu at 832.896.6288 or email at dhsu@givensjohnston.com for immediate assistance.

We work hard to get your hard earned money back from Customs, don’t delay – call today!