© Nattanan726 containers
© Nattanan726

The largest commercial fraud ever uncovered on the US west coast will see the US and Hong Kong split $20m in recovered monies – a far cry from the estimated $60m lost to US Customs revenues. The crime, which started to be investigated in 2000, is thought to have involved some 7,000 shipping containers filled with apparel from China and Hong Kong. Falsified documents stated they were being imported to Mexico, when in fact they were smuggled to buyers in the US. Authorities stopped 200 containers and seized a 100,000sq ft warehouse, as well as buildings at other locations. Five people have been charged – only the owner of Friends Global Logistics trucking company has been caught and punished – getting 18 months in prison and forfeiting $5m in property and assets.

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