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From Home Furnishing Business

Importer Pays $500K to Settle Charges It Evaded Duties

Home Furnishings Resource Group, a supplier of furniture used in college dormitories, has agreed to pay $500,000 to settle claims that it made false statements on customs documents to avoid paying anti-dumping duties on bedroom furniture imported from China.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, the settlement resolves allegations that HFRG evaded antidumping duties on wood bedroom furniture imported from China between 2009 and 2014 by listing it as non-bedroom furniture on its official import documents. 

“The customs laws are 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 shows our commitment to pursue those who violate these laws and gain an illegal advantage in U.S. markets by evading the import duties owed on foreign-made goods.”

It marked the second time this year that a furniture company paid a settlement to resolve allegations that it falsified customs documents to avoid paying anti-dumping duties on bedroom furniture made in China.

In January, Bassett Mirror agreed to pay $10.5 million to resolve charges that it evaded duties between January 2009 and February 2014.

The Bassett Mirror and HFRG cases both stemmed from civil lawsuits filed under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, which permits private parties to file suit on behalf of the United States for false claims and share in a portion of the government’s recovery.

The civil suit against HFRG was filed by a competitor, University Loft, who will receive about $75,000. The Bassett Mirror case was filed by an individual who will receive $1.9 million, the Justice Department said.

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