HTS Fraud Lawyer & Tariff Fraud Attorney | Seattle, Washington

Fraud against the United States is prohibited by the False Claims Act.  Under this Act, whistleblowers reporting fraud are normally entitled to a portion of the recovery secured by the government from the person or company perpetuating the fraud.  At Teller Law, I have a long record of successfully representing courageous whistleblowers in seeking compensation for their efforts.

Fraud against the government may be perpetuated in a number of different arenas.  One such arena is through deliberately misrepresenting the character or country of origin of goods imported into the US, often to save on tariffs that must be paid under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule (“HTS”).  As an HTS fraud attorney and tariff fraud lawyer, I stand ready to represent whistleblowers willing to report such fraud, and to seek for them the compensation to which they are entitled under the False Claims Act in connection with successful recoveries.

My commitment is to provide exceptional legal counsel and support for those facing issues related to HTS fraud and tariff evasion. If you are aware of a business or individual committing HTS or tariff fraud against the United States government, I invite you to call my office at 206-324-8969 to schedule a free consultation.

What Is HTS Fraud?

HTS fraud involves the manipulation or misrepresentation of the classification system used by U.S. Customs to determine tariffs on imported goods. This fraud typically occurs when importers intentionally misclassify goods to evade paying the correct tariffs.

Such misclassification might involve:

  • declaring a false country of origin,
  • underestimating the value of goods, or
  • incorrectly identifying the type of goods.

HTS fraud affects government revenue, disrupts fair market competition, and can have broader economic impacts. It’s considered a serious offense and is often subject to legal action and substantial penalties.

Country of Origin Fraud: A Common Form of HTS Fraud

While not always technically considered HTS fraud, Country of Origin fraud is a type of trade misrepresentation where a product’s actual country of manufacture is falsely reported. This misrepresentation is often done to exploit more favorable tariff rates, avoid import restrictions, or bypass anti-dumping and countervailing duties.

For example, an importer might claim that its goods are produced in a country subject to lower tariffs when, in reality, they are manufactured in a country with higher tariff obligations. This fraudulent practice can have significant implications for revenue, market fairness, and international trade regulations.

How Serious Is Misclassification of Goods Fraud?

Misclassification of Goods Fraud is a serious offense with significant implications. It involves deliberately misclassifying goods under the Harmonized Tariff Schedule to avoid paying the correct customs duties. This fraud can also lead to substantial revenue loss for governments and unfairly distort market competition, giving fraudulent importers an illegal advantage over honest competitors.

Additionally, tariff fraud can also undermine trade policies and domestic industries, and may attract heavy legal penalties, including fines and criminal charges, for those involved. Addressing and preventing this type of fraud is crucial for maintaining the integrity of international trade systems. If you are aware of misclassification fraud, I  invite you to call my office to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how you can expose the misconduct and potentially secure a substantial monetary award.

What is Antidumping and Countervailing Duty Fraud?

Antidumping and countervailing duty fraud involves evading tariffs imposed to protect domestic industries from unfairly priced foreign imports. Antidumping duties are applied to imports sold below fair market value, causing or threatening harm to domestic retailers. Countervailing duties counteract subsidies provided by foreign governments to their exporters.

Fraud in this context typically includes falsifying information to avoid these duties. As a tariff fraud attorney with decades of experience in False Claims Act matters, I assist in helping clients “do the right thing” to report fraud, and help them obtain the compensation to which they may be entitled by speaking out.

What Can I Do If I Am Aware of HTS or Tariff Fraud?

If you are aware of HTS or tariff fraud, you can take several steps:

  • Document Evidence. Collect as much information and documentation as possible to substantiate the fraud.
  • Seek Legal Counsel. Contact an attorney specializing in HTS and tariff fraud. As an experienced tariff fraud law firm, I can guide you on the legal process and help protect your rights.
  • Do Not Discuss Your Case With Others.  Qui Tam and False Claims Act statutes provide that only the whistleblower making the initial claim potentially will be entitled to compensation for reporting fraud. If you discuss the case with others and they report the fraud before you do, they (and not you) will likely be the only one entitled to compensation.
  • File a Whistleblower Claim. On behalf of whistleblowers, I can file what is known as a “Qui Tam” whistleblower claim under the False Claims Act. This can lead to an investigation of the fraud by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and a monetary reward.
  • Whistleblower Protection. I help clients understand their rights as a whistleblower, including protections against retaliation, such as illegal termination.
  • Potential Reward. Depending on the case and the laws applicable, whistleblowers may be eligible for a substantial financial reward if their information leads to successful legal action and recovery of funds.

Taking action against HTS or tariff fraud can have significant legal implications, so it’s essential to proceed with the guidance of an experienced HTS lawyer.

Whistleblower Protection and Rewards

Under whistleblower laws, individuals reporting fraud (sometimes called “relators”) are entitled to monetary rewards when their information leads to the recovery of funds. Since these laws were enacted, billions have been reclaimed from entities committing fraud against the government, with over a billion dollars awarded to relators.

Relators typically receive 15% to 20% of the recovered amount when the government intervenes, and 25% to 30% if it doesn’t. Given that Qui Tam cases can involve substantial sums, these rewards can be quite significant. For instance, in 2019, whistleblowers collectively received about $272 million in rewards. Mr. Teller’s clients have received collectively over $10 million in the last five years alone.

If you suspect customs fraud, contacting my office can be a critical step. As an experienced tariff fraud lawyer, I can review your case, inform you of your legal options, and assist in pursuing justice and the highest possible reward for your contribution.

One of My Firm’s Recent Court Victories: A Case Study

In a landmark case, my firm helped the FCC recover $40 million in overpayments from GCI Communications Corp., which settled allegations of False Claims Act violations. This case highlights my firm’s commitment to addressing significant fraud cases effectively.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire an Experienced Seattle HTS False Claims Act Lawyer?

At Teller Law, I represent clients in HTS and tariff fraud cases on a contingency fee basis. This arrangement means I only receive a fee if I successfully recover compensation, ensuring my clients do not need to pay any upfront retainer or legal fees throughout the progression of a case.

I can advance all necessary legal expenses associated with Qui Tam litigation. In instances where the federal government takes over the litigation, they may bear the litigation costs. Should the litigation result in success, my fees, as guided by Qui Tam statutes, are deducted from the recovered amount on behalf of the government, and the whistleblower reporting the claim is also paid by the government.

Schedule a Free Consultation with An Experienced HTS Fraud Attorney: Take the First Step Today!