Import Merchandising Concepts L.P. and Two Individuals Agree to Pay $275,000 to Settle False Claims Act Liability for Evading Customs Duties
The Department of Justice announced today that Import Merchandising Concepts L.P. (IMC) and two individuals, Glen Michaels and Alan Lewis, have agreed to pay $275,000 to resolve allegations that the company improperly evaded customs duties on imports of wooden bedroom furniture from the People’s Republic of China (PRC), in violation of the False Claims Act. IMC imports, among other things, bedroom furniture that is sold for use in university student housing. The company is headquartered in Addington, Texas. Glen Michaels is an IMC executive, and Alan Lewis was an IMC agent.
“Those who import and sell foreign-made goods in the United States must comply with the law, including laws intended to protect domestic companies and American workers from unfair foreign competition,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “This settlement reflects the Department of Justice’s commitment to pursue those who seek to evade import duties owed on goods manufactured abroad thereby gaining an unfair advantage in U.S. markets.”
The settlement announced today resolves allegations that IMC, led by Glen Michaels and Alan Lewis, evaded antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture imported from the PRC between 2009 and 2014, by misclassifying the furniture as non-bedroom furniture on its official import documents. Antidumping duties protect against foreign companies “dumping” products on the U.S. market at prices below cost. The U.S. Department of Commerce assesses and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) collects these duties to protect U.S. businesses and level the playing field for domestic products. At the time of the imports alleged in this case, wooden bedroom furniture from the PRC was subject to a 216 percent antidumping duty; non-bedroom furniture was not subject to any antidumping duties.
The investigation was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas and CBP.
The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability.