LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Paramount clothing company will plead guilty to federal charges of undervaluing imported garments to dodge millions of dollars in customs fees, and will also admit doing business with a woman in Mexico tied to the Sinaloa drug cartel, prosecutors announced Tuesday.
According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, Ghacham Inc. -- doing business under the name Platini -- was charged with conspiracy to pass false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse, along with conspiracy to engage in a transaction or dealing in properties of a specially designated narcotics trafficker.
Company executive Mohamed Daoud Ghacham, 38, of Bell, was charged with a single count of conspiracy to pass false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse. He and the company have both agreed to plead guilty to the charges, and they are expected to appear in court Nov. 18 in downtown Los Angeles.
Prosecutors say the company undervalued shipments of clothing from China by more than $32 million between July 2011 and February 2021 to avoid paying nearly $6.4 million in customs fees.
The company was also accused of doing business with Maria Tiburcia Cazarez Perez, whom federal authorities have linked to leaders of the Mexico- based Sinaloa Cartel. Companies are barred from doing business with her under the Kingpin Act, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Once the pleas are entered, Ghacham Inc. will face a maximum fine of $10.5 million and five years probation. Mohamed Ghacham will face up to five years in federal prison, prosecutors said.