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Guilty Verdict for Florida Corporation for Illegal Smuggling Operation of HCFC-22

Southern District of Florida, April 26, 2011

Florida corporation found guilty of running an illegal smuggling operation that imported over 20,000 cylinders of restricted HCFC-22 with a market value of $1,438,270.

The United States Attorney's Office, Southern District of Florida issued a press release on April 26, 2011, citing another guilty verdict for smuggling R-22. "The unlawful importation of goods poses a triple threat to the national security, public safety and economic well-being of the United States,” said Michael Shea, Deputy Special Agent in Charge of ICE in Miami. This case is another example of Immigration & Customs Enforcement Office partnering with and taking an aggressive approach with the U.S. Attorney’s Office and EPA to protect the American public from inferior and unsafe products that illegally enter the United States and combat those who exploit the commerce system and compromise the safety of US citizens.

Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2011. The statutory maximum term of imprisonment for the President of the Corporation who pled guilty to the charge of knowingly importing HCFC-22 contrary to the provisions of the Clean Air Act is 20 years and a fine of $250,000. In addition, the defendant could be ordered to forfeit the proceeds from the illegal imports.

This conviction sends a clear message that those who place the public at risk in order to make illegal profits will be vigorously prosecuted. This is a good reminder that the agencies have increased their efforts to stop illegal imports and will prosecute violators to the fullest. It is an important reminder to buy from a trusted supplier and ask others if they have HCFC allowances.

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