New York Customs Fraud Lawyer

At Joseph Potashnik and Associates, PC, our New York-based team of attorneys works with clients to help them navigate the complex area of customs law and enforcement. If you are facing administrative or criminal charges based on customs fraud and import and export violations, our experienced defense attorneys are available to provide competent and effective representation. We work with both individual and corporate clients.

What Is Customs Fraud

Customs fraud is intentional misrepresentation aimed at evading customs tariffs or at bringing contraband into the United States.

Customs officials may discover that fraud has occurred by several different methods. Fraud may be discovered through informants, inspection, the discovery that a sample of the goods does not conform to the description on the invoice, and by other methods.

Customs officials may demand documents showing that the goods are what the importer claims them to be. The document demand is typically the first formal request in the investigation process. The importer may refuse to surrender the documents; but if the case ends up before a court, the court has the power to compel the importer to provide documents.

After a fraud investigation begins, the customs officials may issue a pre-penalty demand alleging that fraud has occurred. Customs officials may demand the full forfeiture value of the importer’s goods.

The customs officials may also seek an administrative summons if they suspect fraud. The summons may compel the importer to produce certain documentation to support its assertion that the goods conform to the importer’s description. The summons may prohibit the entry of the goods until the importer complies with the requirements set forth in the summons.

If the importer does not provide proper documentation about the goods sought to be imported into the United States, customs officials may determine the proper classification for the goods and assess a tariff rate accordingly. If the importer disagrees with the classification, the importer may challenge the tariff assessed and provide the necessary documentation to support its claim.

If, after an investigation, the importer is found to have committed fraud, it may be assessed a monetary penalty, the goods may be subject to forfeiture, or the importer may lose importation privileges. Criminal penalties may be also be imposed, depending upon the degree of fraud and whether illegal cargo was involved.

New York City Import and Export Controls Lawyer

Goods imported into the United States may be subject to tariffs, which are taxes on imported goods. The main reasons tariffs exist is to protect U.S. industries against foreign competition. Individuals and companies who import goods into the United States are responsible for determining their own tariff liability by consulting the Schedule B system. We can help you navigate this system and maintain compliance.

Before entering the United States, imports are subject to inspection and approval by U.S. Customs.

The importer is responsible for arranging customs inspection and approval. Items left non inspected because the importer did not arrange for examination are held and stored at the importer’s expense, and then sold after one year if inspection is not arranged. Customs will not notify the importer of the goods arrival, so the importer must make that its carrier provides such notification, or the importer runs the risk of losing its goods.

Export Control

Exports were previously controlled by the Export Administration Act of 1979, which allowed government oversight for reasons of national security, but that law has lapsed. Since the lapse, each President has exercised control over exports through the International Emergency Economic Powers Act.

Prohibitions against particular types of export are still based on the need to protect national security interests. For example, exporting actions that contribute to terrorism in any way are strictly prohibited.

Export Administrative Regulations are commonly known by the abbreviation EAR.

Anti-Boycott Laws

Federal law forbids participating in foreign boycotts that are not approved by the U.S.

The Bureau of Industry and Security of the U.S. Department of Commerce states particularly that boycotting Israel could lead to fines and time in prison, but notes that other foreign boycotts unsanctioned by the U.S. could also fall under this law, which is found in Title 15 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

The Bureau of Industry and Security explains that anti-boycott laws are there to protect American allies and to protect U.S. firms from being used to implement foreign policies of other nations, which run counter to U.S. policy.

If you would like to speak with a qualified customs, import and export violation defense attorney, call our office today. Our main office is located in New York City but we represent clients in federal criminal and administrative matters across the country. We also advise foreign clients on matters involving the US import and customs regulations.