It was far from being made in the USA.
A Virginia defense company was sentenced to nearly five years in prison for selling more than $ 7 million in goods to the U.S. military that were labeled as made in the U.S. but were actually made in China, the Justice Department said.
Beyung S. Kim, 62, of Newport News, Virginia, the owner of Iris Kim, Inc., admitted that he had imported items from China for years, but then cut off their Made in China labels and replaced them with labels labeled Made in the United States before they sold the item to various branches of the military.
Kim's company supplied goods from swimsuits for cadets at West Point and promotional T-shirts for the Army's stunt parachute team, the Golden Knights, to water bottles with the logo for the Marine Corps. The company also sourced t-shirts for the Indiana, North Dakota, and Arkansas National Guards, and spools of accordion wire and wire ropes for the Coast Guard.
"These funds were intended for deserving beneficiaries, including American workers, veterans with disabilities, and authorized trading partners."
In total, the company signed dozen of $ 24 million worth of contracts with the Department of Defense between 2011 and 2018. Prosecutors say Kim will source the goods from China and have them shipped to a warehouse in the United States. He then enlisted the help of a labeling company to remove all traces of the origin of the items and label them as made in the USA.
The fraud violated the terms of the procurement contracts Iris Kim, Inc. – also known as I-Tek – signed, which stated that the items were made domestically or in a small list of other countries that did not include China , were manufactured . It also violated several laws that require certain government contracts to be performed on products made in the United States.
A giveaway for things wasn't quite right was when Kim delivered t-shirts with washing instructions that spelled the word “bleach” as “bleech,” prosecutors said.
Federal investigators say Kim also illegally listed an employee who was a disabled veteran as president of the company on some of the deals in order to be eligible for contracts reserved for disabled veterinarian companies.
“The defendants' egregious scheme led the US government to spend over $ 7 million on fraudulently imported goods. These funds were intended for deserving beneficiaries, including American workers, disabled veterans and authorized trading partners, ”said Raj Parekh, acting US attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Kim's lawyer declined to comment.
Kim and four of his co-workers pleaded guilty to fraud in December. Kim was sentenced to 58 months in prison on Wednesday and sentenced to pay $ 7.6 million. The four other employees were sentenced to a total of 93 months in prison for their role in the fraud, prosecutors said.