LAREDO, Texas - Two businessmen from New Jersey and a California each pleaded guilty on Thursday for their roles in an illegal export scheme. The guilty pleas were announced by U.S. Attorney Tim Johnson, Southern District of Texas. The case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Vahram Aynilian, 59, of New Jersey, and Fred Lukach, 50, of California, each pleaded guilty to one count of illegally exporting goods from the United States into Mexico. Both defendants appeared before U.S. Magistrate Judge Diana Saldana to enter their guilty pleas.
From 2005 to 2009, Aynilian received about $199,201 for providing and/or allowing fraudulent NAFTA Certificate of Origin documents and fraudulent U.S. invoices to be provided for 243 shipments. As part of his plea agreement, Aynilian agreed to forfeit and will pay to the United States at or before sentencing the $199,201.20 he profited from the scheme. During the same time period, Lukach paid for and obtained fraudulent NAFTA Certificate of Origin documents and fraudulent U.S. invoices from Aynilian for numerous textile shipments. Read more.
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