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Accused company misses court hearing

Keywords: Tags  PRP Trading, Sultana Screens & Aluminum Sales, Aluwest Industries, Edrick Garcia-Vazquez, Armando Garcia-Vazquez, Carlos Mingeula-Ortiz, duty evasion, China Puerto Rico

CHICAGO — One of three companies accused in an alleged duty evasion scheme involving aluminum from China missed an arraignment hearing in U.S. District Court in Puerto Rico.

PRP Trading Corp. is accused of one count each of smuggling, wire fraud and money laundering but failed to appear at a July 8 hearing, according to court documents. The hearing was called but not held because the Arecibo, Puerto Rico-based company "failed to be represented by counsel," the documents said.

The court has issued an order requiring PRP Trading to explain why "no one has appeared on behalf of (PRP Trading) and why no one showed up for the arraignment," the court documents said, indicating that the arraignment would be postponed until counsel representing the company appears in court.

Three companies and five men have been accused by federal prosecutors of shipping aluminum extrusions from China into the United States using false invoices indicating that the metal came from Malaysia to avoid paying $26.7 million in anti-dumping and countervailing duties that would have been imposed on the Chinese material (, June 25).

The other two companies, Mayaguez, Puerto Rico-based Sultana Screens & Aluminum Sales Inc., and its subsidiary, Ponce, Puerto Rico-based Aluwest Industries Inc., have entered not guilty pleas (, July 3).

Edrick García-Vázquez, president of PRP; Samuel García-Adarme, owner of Sultana Screens and vice president of Aluwest; Armando García-Vázquez, vice president of PRP and chief financial officer of Sultana Screens; Carlos Minguela-Ortiz, an accountant for both PRP and Sultana; and William Tang Piu Wong, owner of AGI Trading Corp. of Wellington, Fla., also have pleaded not guilty (, July 5).

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