Prosecution Specifies Laws Allegedly Violated in U.S. v. Khouli et al. Prosecution

Thursday, May 31, 2012
The prosecution has more particularly identified the laws it will use to prosecute Joseph A. Lewis, II and Salem Alshdaifat, both indicted last year by a New York federal grand jury for crimes relating to alleged antiquities trafficking.  Earlier this month, Chief Magistrate Steven M. Gold denied the defendants' motion for a bill of particulars.  However, the court ordered government attorneys to further crystallize the laws it would rely on during trial.

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, in part, explained the following in a recent letter to the court:

"The Indictment alleges that the defendants acted contrary to law by providing Customs with false declarations of county of origin, seller, consignee and purchaser; providing Customs with vague and misleading descriptions of shipments' contents; failing to declare that multiple shipments contained a single purchase or to declare the full value of that purchase; and failing to file entry on international mail shipments, and accordingly, failing to make required declarations regarding those shipments. . . . The applicable Customs regulations that were violated by the above-described conduct are contained in Title 19, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 141 (“Entry of Merchandise”), Part 142 (“Entry Process”), Part 143, Subpart C (“Informal Entry”), and Part 145 (“Mail Importations”). . . . "

"In addition, by making material false statements to Customs, the charged conduct was contrary to Title 18, United States Code, Section 542 (“Entry of Goods by Means of False Statements”). See, e.g., United States v. An Antique Platter of Gold, 184 F.3d 131, 134-37 (2d Cir. 1999)(finding that a false declaration regarding an item’s country of origin violated Section 542, and the importation was therefore “contrary to law” for purposes of forfeiture of that item pursuant to Section 545)."