Bizlink Technology, Inc., an importer of computer cable assemblies located in Fremont, Calif., has paid $1.2 million to settle a civil False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuit. It was alleged that BTI violated the FCA by underpaying customs duties owed on goods imported from China. United States Attorney Melinda Haag and Brian J. Humphrey, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Director of Field Operations, San Francisco, each of whom had been working on the case, announced the settlement.
The United States claimed that BTI had underpaid customs duties on goods that BTI imported into the United States from Bizlink International Electronics Co., Ltd., a factory in Shenzhen, China. It was alleged that BTI obtained two sets of invoices for the period 2006 through 2008 for each shipment from the Chinese factory. It was contended that these invoices, one falsely stating a lower cost, showed an intent to deceive. The false invoices were used to calculate the customs duties that BTI paid on the imported goods, which resulted in substantial underpayments.
The settlement resolves a whistleblower lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. A manager who formerly worked at BTI filed the lawsuit pursuant to the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The relator in this case will receive $252,000 as his share of the government’s recovery from BTI.
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