Managing Director of New Jersey Wooden Bedroom Furniture Importer Pleads Guilty to Filing Fraudulent Documents in Multimillion Dollar Antidumping Duty Evasion Scheme

News & Insights
Sep 24, 2014

Earlier this month, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of New Jersey announced ( that John Sandiford, the managing director of a New Jersey-based wooden bedroom furniture importer, had pled guilty to one count of importing merchandise from China by means of false statements.

The bill of information filed in the criminal proceeding alleged that for nearly three years, Mr. Sandiford falsely claimed on import entry documents that merchandise manufactured by three different Chinese companies subject to a 216.01% antidumping duty cash deposit rate was instead manufactured by one of two Chinese companies subject to a 7.24% antidumping duty cash deposit rate.  Per the U.S. Attorney’s press release, this scheme allowed Mr. Sandiford’s company to evade “paying $7 million in anti-dumping duties.”  From the bill of information:

From in or about September 2008 through in or about March 2011, defendant JOHN SANDIFORD agreed with others to engage in a scheme to file false entries with CBP and to submit fraudulent bills of lading to CBP that disguised the true manufacturer for certain wooden bedroom furniture that was manufactured by Companies A, B and C.  Specifically, defendant JOHN SANDIFORD and others caused false entries to be filed with {CBP} and fraudulent bills of lading to be submitted to CBP that made it appear as though certain wooden bedroom furniture manufactured by Companies A, B and C were manufactured by Companies D and E.The written plea agreement filed in the criminal proceeding was dated December 5, 2013 and signed December 18, 2013, indicating that the guilty plea was part of a larger investigation.  The U.S. Attorney’s Office credited U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) – under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees – for the investigation leading to the guilty plea.

The fraudulent evasion of payment of antidumping duties is a problem that has plagued the antidumping duty order on certain wooden bedroom furniture from China.  U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recently reported that, through Fiscal Year 2013, there was $1.83 billion in unpaid antidumping and countervailing duty bills.  Of this total, unpaid antidumping duties on wooden bedroom furniture alone totaled $402.8 million – the second highest total behind imports of fresh garlic from China.  This is a staggering amount.  By way of comparison, CBP additionally reported that for Fiscal Year 2013 $11.7 million in antidumping duty deposits were made on import entries of Chinese wooden bedroom furniture valued at $161.8 million.