The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) ordered 6 Southern California companies conspiring with Chinese billionaire Liu Zongtian to pay 1.83 billion dollars on April 11. The fine is in restitution for their disguising scheme to avoid the payment of aluminum duties.

U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner sentenced Perfectus Aluminum Inc., its subsidiary, and five warehousing firms – all of which were related to one another – to 5 years of probation. This is the maximum penalty permitted by law.

Last year, the six corporate entities were found guilty of conspiring with China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., Asia’s largest manufacturer of aluminum extrusions.

They imported extrusions welted together as pallets for which there was no commercial market to avoid anti-dumping tariffs imposed by the U.S.

According to the DOJ, the import fraud was part of a scheme by China Zhongwang and its billionaire former chairman and president, Zhongtian Liu, to inflate a Hong-Kong listed firm’s revenues and defraud investors.

The great bulk of the pallets was imported through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and then stored in four enormous warehouses in Southern California, all of which were conducted under Liu’s direction.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Hsieh said that the Southern California businesses were the puppets of Liu.

The U.S. has also accused Liu and China Zhongwang of the fraud plot; however, they have yet to make an appearance in court to face the charges.

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