SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Law News & Law Jobs – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco indicted Valeriana Au, a/k/a Valerie Mok, of Novato, California, on September 12, 2006, on charges related to submitting false invoices to Customs and Border Protection in order to pay a lower customs duty and fee amount. These charges are the result of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
According to the indictment, Ms. Au, 39, is alleged to have caused the submission of fake invoices and other documents to Customs and Border Protection and paid a lower amount in customs duties and fees, when the duty and fee owed to customs should have been higher. Duties and fees owed to customs are based on an entered merchandise value submitted by the company and/or its agent. Ms. Au was Production Manager at FG Industry, a California Corporation located in Novato, California, which engaged in the business of importing and selling clothing and other merchandise. The total loss of revenue caused by the submission of false invoices and other documents to the government is approximately $448,036.
Ms. Au is scheduled for her initial appearance in federal court in San Francisco on September 25, 2006, before the Honorable James Larson.
The maximum statutory penalty for each count of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371, (one court) and smuggling goods into the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 545 (seven counts) is 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum penalty for each count of entry of goods falsely classified, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 541, (seven counts) and entry of goods using false statements, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 542, (seven counts) is 2 years in prison, and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Ms. Au must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Christina Hua is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Ana Guerra.