Former Officer Of Cranbury, N.J., Furniture Importer Admits False Statements To Customs Authorities
NEWARK, N.J. - A Pennsylvania man today admitted lying to customs authorities in order to avoid $7 million in anti-dumping duties on children’s bedroom furniture imported from China, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
John Sandiford, 66, of East Earl, Pennsylvania, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge William J. Martini in Newark federal court to an information charging him with one count of importing merchandise from China by means of false statements.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Sandiford was the managing director of a Cranbury, New Jersey, company that imported children’s wooden bedroom furniture from China. Importers must pay “anti-dumping” duties of 216 percent on some types of wooden bedroom furniture made in certain Chinese factories because those factories sell the furniture at less than fair value and materially injure U.S. industry. However, importers pay an anti-dumping duty of only 7.24 percent on the same types of furniture if it is made in Chinese factories that are not state-owned or controlled.
Between 2008 and 2011, Sandiford and others at his company imported furniture from factories with the 216 percent anti-dumping duty rate, but filed false customs documents and bills of lading stating that the furniture was made at factories with the 7.24 percent anti-dumping duty rate. These fraudulent documents enabled Sandiford’s company to avoid paying $7 million in anti-dumping duties.
The count with which Sandiford is charged carries a maximum penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $250,000 or twice the gain or loss caused by the offense. Sentencing is currently scheduled for Jan. 14, 2015.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Department of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI), under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees, for the investigation leading to today’s plea.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorneys R. David Walk Jr. and Melissa L. Jampol of the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s Health Care and Government Fraud Unit.
Defense counsel: Barry Gross Esq., Philadelphia