CHICAGO Five men and three companies have been accused of shipping aluminum extrusions from China into the United States using false invoices indicating that the metal came from Malaysia, according to federal prosecutors in Puerto Rico.
The alleged scheme was used in an effort to avoid paying $26.7 million in antidumping and countervailing duties that would have been imposed on the Chinese material, prosecutors said.
Samuel García-Adarme, owner of Sultana Screens & Aluminum Sales Inc., Mayaguez, Puerto Rico, and vice president of Aluwest Industries Inc., Ponce, Puerto Rico, has been indicted on smuggling and money laundering charges, according to documents filed in federal District Court in Puerto Rico. Edrick García-Vázquez, president of PRP Trading Corp.; Armando García-Vázquez, vice president of PRP Trading and chief financial officer of Sultana; Carlos Minguela-Ortiz, accountant for Sultana and PRP; and William Tang Pin Wang, owner of AGI Trading Corp., face smuggling, money laundering and wire fraud charges. Sultana, Aluwest and PRP Trading also are charged with smuggling, money laundering and wire fraud.
None of the accused could be reached for comment.
"These individuals are charged with defrauding the United States government of tens of millions of dollars in lawfully imposed duties," U.S. District Attorney Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Veléz, said in a statement. "We will continue to investigate and prosecute those who engage in corrupt acts which directly affect fair market competition in imported goods."
The indictments were applauded by the Aluminum Extrusion Council (AEC), which has been active in filing trade cases against imports of Chinese aluminum extrusions and other products.
"It is extremely gratifying to see the U.S. Department of Justice take action against those seeking to illegally bypass the import duties on Chinese aluminum extrusions," AEC president Rand Baldwin said in a statement. The AEC has found a "willing ear" at the Justice Department, and it is "clear that the U.S. government takes trade actions seriously."
U.S. aluminum extruders and the United Steelworkers union filed anti-dumping and countervailing duty petitions with the U.S. Commerce Department and the International Trade Commission in 2010 asking for relief against what they said were unfairly traded imports from China (amm.com, March 31, 2010).