Between 2011 and 2014, six Southern California companies – Perfectus Aluminum, Perfectus Aluminum Acquisitions, and four warehouse owners – helped Liu Zhongtain, owner of China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd., evade $1.83 billion in US tariffs on aluminum imports.
Liu and the California shell companies he controlled lied to US Customs and Border control to avoid paying anti-dumping and countervailing duties, which had been imposed in 2011 on certain types of extruded aluminum imported from China into the US. Aluminum extrusions were disguised as aluminum pallets, which were never purchased and instead sat stockpiled in warehouses for several years.
In the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) investigation into Liu and the California companies, a Brattle team – led by Principals Torben Voetmann and Mark Sarro and Associate Adrienna Huffman – aided prosecutors in analyzing Perfectus’s stock price reaction in response to certain company activities. At trial, Mr. Voetmann testified about the conglomerate’s IPO prospectus and the related-party disclosures it was compelled to provide to shareholders.
In August 2021, a federal jury found all six of the California companies guilty of conspiracy, wire fraud, and passing false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse. On April 11, 2022, all six entities were sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $1.83 billion in restitution.