Auto Parts Importer Settles Customs Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuits for $8 Million

Hoyer Law Group, PLLC, is pleased to announce an $8 million settlement of a lawsuit brought on behalf of its whistleblower client Jeffrey S. Hawk against CWD Holdings, LLC (CWD), and other defendants.

CWD, a California-based company, is one of the largest distributors of aftermarket brake and chassis parts in North America. Mr. Hawk alleged that CWD violated the False Claims Act by importing brake components from China without paying tariffs required by the Harmonized Tariff Schedule.

On July 7, 2017, Mr. Hawk, then a Controller for Centric Parts, a CWD subsidiary, filed an action in the Eastern District of Michigan under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act.

Mr. Hawk’s complaint alleged that CWD concealed a decade-long tariff misclassification of imported brake pads from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The alleged scheme resulted in CWD’s nonpayment of a 2.5% tariff on those imported brake pads, resulting in the improper avoidance of millions of dollars in import duties.

In April 2017, CWD officers allegedly concealed the past misclassification to CBP when confronted with the misclassification.

The False Claims Act allows whistleblowers like Mr. Hawk to share in the government’s recovery.

In this case, Mr. Hawk and another whistleblower will receive an award of approximately $1.5 million.

Mr. Hawk risked his career to shine a light on the fraudulent conduct of his employers. His brave decision to come forward allowed for a remedy for all American taxpayers.

Hoyer Law Group is also profoundly grateful for the hard work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Caroline Burgunder and John Spaccarotella from the Eastern District of Michigan on the case.

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