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  3. Akua Mosaics, Inc. and Its President Plead Guilty to Smuggling to Avoid Duties and Tariffs

Akua Mosaics, Inc. and Its President Plead Guilty to Conspiracy to Smuggle Goods into the US to Avoid Paying Over $1 Million in Duties and Tariffs in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Release Date: March 19, 2024

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Kenneth Fleming and Akua Mosaics, Inc. (“Akua Mosaics”) pleaded guilty March 19 to a conspiracy to smuggle goods into the United States in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 545, announced W. Stephen Muldrow, United States Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico.

According to the plea agreements, from 2021 through June 2022 Akua Mosaics and its president, Kenneth Fleming, conspired to defraud the United States by smuggling and clandestinely importing porcelain mosaic tiles manufactured in the People’s Republic of China (PRC), by falsely stating to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) that the merchandise originated from Malaysia.

This was done with the intent to avoid paying anti-dumping duties of 330.69%, countervailing duties of 358.81%, and other duties of approximately 25%, which were owed when importing these tiles from PRC to the United States.

Between October 2021 and January 2022, a container with porcelain tiles manufactured in PRC was shipped from PRC to Malaysia. Once there, “Made in Malaysia” labels were be placed on the boxes. The container was then shipped from Malaysia to Puerto Rico. The total amount of unpaid duties and tariffs on this shipment was approximately $1,090,000.

Fleming and Akua Mosaics conspired with Shuyi Mo, a citizen and resident of PRC, who was arrested on April 29, 2023, in the Northern District of California while attempting to leave the United States. Mo pleaded guilty and was sentenced on Sept. 1, 2023, to four months in prison. Once released from prison, he was removed from the United States.

Fleming and Akua Mosaics face a maximum penalty of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, a three-year term of supervised release, and a payment of $1,090,000 in restitution. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors.

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) San Juan Global Trade Investigations Group (GTIG), in collaboration with the U.S. CBP, are investigating the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Alexander L. Alum is prosecuting the case.

Last Updated: 04/22/2024
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