Importer Sentenced For Customs Fraud

On May 15, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced that Paul Kotsakos of Biloxi, Mississippi, was sentenced to nine months in prison and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $10,403 and $3,000 fines for customs fraud. 

In January, Kotsakos pleaded guilty to a 16-count indictment, charging him with conspiracy to commit customs violations and wire fraud. Kotsakos operated an import company PK Promotions, Inc., in Biloxi. The company provided promotional items to casinos, restaurants, sports teams, and wholesalers, and imported items, including bags, beads, cups, and shirts from China. 

According to the indictment, Kotsakos submitted fraudulent invoices to U.S. Customs and arranged to give parts false HTS classifications. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Kotsakos e-mailed the foreign manufacturers to request that they prepare fraudulent invoices reflecting a lower price for goods sold or different classification of the goods. By requesting falsified invoices and wrong classifications for the imports, Kotsakos sought to avoid paying the full amount of duty on imported goods. 

After his release, Kotsakos will have to serve three years of supervised release.