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Is Your Company Under Investigation by BIS, CPB, DOS, or OFAC for Import/Export Violations?

By Spodek Law Group | November 3, 2020
(Last Updated On: August 1, 2023)

Last Updated on: 1st August 2023, 11:56 pm

Seek Legal Counsel if Your Company is Under Investigation for Import/Export Violations

Is your company being investigated for import or export violations? Several federal agencies conduct investigations regarding noncompliance with federal regulations. They include the Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Bureau of Industry and Security, the US Department of State, and the Customs and Border Protection agency. If these agencies bring penalties against you, you may be subject to significant fines, the dismantling of your business, and even prison time in criminal investigations. Because the stakes are so high, it’s vital that you talk to a lawyer if your company is being investigated for compliance violations regarding exports and imports.

Multiple Agencies Enforce Import/Export Regulations

The federal government regulates both businesses that ship products overseas and businesses that import products through foreign companies. Multiple agencies are responsible for enforcing the import and export rules. Not only is this a matter of good business, but it’s also a matter of national security. These agencies help to regulate international goods as well, ensuring that potentially dangerous or counterfeit products don’t end up on US soil. Compliance regulations for both importing and exporting can be very complicated, and companies that don’t meet the standards are subject to hefty penalties.

Are any federal US agencies investigating your company’s export or import operations? If this is true, you should meet with an attorney who specializes in customs regulations. It’s also important to talk to legal counsel prior to engaging in international trade. Lawyers can help you understand your compliance needs and create company policies to comply with federal regulations.

Violations Are Taken Very Seriously by the Government

Import and export violations are very serious breaches of government regulation. They are considered seriously by federal agents because of their potential to risk national security and potentially put people in danger.

There are many, many rules regarding different international transactions. Whether you’re a small business or a large corporation, there’s a good chance you may find yourself accused of noncompliance with federal regulations. These allegations can often be solved by explaining the situation and making an effort to prevent the issue from happening again. Lawyers can help with this, again, by drafting compliance measures for your business.

Most Violations Are Unintentional

The fact of the matter is that most violations are not done intentionally. Many business owners simply aren’t aware of certain regulations. That goes both for new business owners and for older businesspeople who have recently begun trading with a new company or new country. You might not realize that there are different regulations for the products you’re bringing in.

This still won’t serve as an excuse. You may be subject to penalties regardless. But unintentional mistakes aren’t prosecuted with the same fervor as intentional noncompliance. It’s also important to note that the majority of violations are in regards to harmless items that won’t pose a threat to national security.

But sometimes there are threats to national security, or there are threats of terrorism within the US. Federal officials can’t be cautious with these. Even if the officials know that the violation is likely unintentional, they must investigate as fully as possible to make sure that there is no threat. Business owners must protect themselves against the scrutiny by using a legal team. They need to be able to convince the federal government that there should not be charges brought or administrative action taken.

Hire an Attorney Focused on Federal Law

With a law firm that focuses on federal matters, you can ensure that your attorney understands how to work within federal regulations. It also helps to have an attorney with experience dealing with multiple different law enforcement agencies. Many law firms only operate at the state level, so looking for a federal lawyer is paramount.

In addition to getting a lawyer focused on federal defense, it’s important to get a lawyer with a background in compliance. Your lawyer’s job isn’t done when they help you through the federal investigation. They then need to help you ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again. Only an attorney with a thorough understanding of compliance regulations can help you draft the procedures you need moving forward.

An attorney can help resolve the majority of federal investigations without bringing charges. This reduces the amount of harm that your company suffers due to the investigation. Finally, an attorney can defend you in the event that charges are brought.

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