WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security today announced that it has reached a $27 million civil settlement with Access USA Shipping, LLC (“Access USA”), of Sarasota, Florida, to settle allegations that it committed violations of the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) during April 21, 2011 through January 7, 2013.

Access USA settled 129 counts of evasion, 17 counts of exporting or attempting to export crime control items without the required license, and 4 counts of exporting or attempting to export to a sanctioned entity on the BIS Entity List without the required license. $17 million dollars of the penalty was suspended for a two-year probationary period. They illegally shipped rifle scopes, night vision lenses, weapons parts, and EAR99 items.  

“I am very proud of the work that our Bureau of Industry Security continues to do in defense of our laws and our national security,” said Secretary Ross. “I’ve said it before – the games are over, and the work of these agents will be more important than ever as we bring new energy to the enforcement of our trade laws.”

Access USA, a Florida-based mail and package forwarding company, provided foreign customers with a US physical address and a “suite” – designated space at its warehouse facilities – for items purchased from United States merchants that were ultimately intended for export. Customers could have such items, which included rifle scopes, night vision lenses, weapons parts, and EAR99 items, delivered to Access USA’s Florida facilities while concealing from those merchants the fact that the items were destined for export, thus avoiding the necessary scrutiny.

Item descriptions were altered and merchant invoices removed in order to avoid detection by the U.S. Government and law enforcement. Access USA thereafter exported those items without regard for its export control and compliance obligations, including its recordkeeping obligations, and without regard for the lawfulness of the shipment, the accuracy of the information conveyed to customs and law enforcement authorities, or the need to first obtain a license where one was necessary. Access USA routinely undervalued, misrepresented, and evaded regulatory requirements for items intended for export using multiple different schemes.

“BIS imposed a substantial penalty in this case after Access USA’s efforts to circumvent U.S. export regulations,” said Robert Luzzi, Special Agent in Charge of Commerce’s Office of Export Enforcement Miami Field Office. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to identify, deter, and prevent any suspected violations.”

The Office of Export Enforcement investigated this case along with Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida. Access USA entered into a non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s office covering the same conduct.

© BIS 2020