Most trading embargo violations are complex and involve action from various federal agencies including the Departments of State, Treasury, Commerce, Defense, Energy, Justice and others. Many different kinds of individuals and companies from a variety of industries are accused of embargo violations including multi-national corporations trading in highly regulated exports and people leisurely traveling to embargoed destinations. If you are, or believe you might be, facing embargo violation charges, it is crucial to seek legal counsel of a reputable attorney immediately.
Numerous agencies of the United States enforce import and export control regulations involving services and transactions with foreign companies and individuals. These agencies also control the transfers of controlled technology and products in an out of many foreign countries. These agencies also place shipping restrictions of products and goods to and from certain individuals, organizations, companies and countries.
Any trade embargo violation can result in severe penalties including imprisonment, substantial fines and restriction of doing business in the United States and abroad. In recent years, civil fines imposed for each violation has quadrupled, and can reach as high as $50,000 each. Criminal penalties have also escalated, where a prison sentence up to 30 years can be imposed upon conviction.
Hiring an Attorney
The severity of prison time and fines are extensive, and a charge for embargo violations should never be taken lightly. Even a simple accusation of violating United States trade restrictions requires hiring a reputable attorney to provide legal representation when handling your case. Skilled lawyers with years of experience in embargo violation law can assist in a variety of ways including protecting you against the charge of violating:
- Trade sanctions
- Export controls
- Import controls
- Customs law
- and others restrictions
Skilled attorneys can represent individuals charged with embargo violations involved in trade sanctions and export controls. Unfortunately, a violation can occur without knowledge or intention of the charged individual or company. Failure to adequately maintain specific records required to ship goods, product or money in and out of countries can cost individuals and companies huge fines and possibly prison time.
Office of Foreign Assets Control
The OFAC (Office of Foreign Assets Control) through the U.S. Department of the Treasury is given enforcement power to maintain control over economic sanctions, primarily against groups and countries. By law, some financial and trade transactions are prohibited where an individual in the United States may not engage in the transaction without OFAC authorization.
Multinational companies often face severe penalties on charges of trade embargo violations because they fail to properly maintain effective internal “housekeeping” procedures such as:
- Not keeping apprised of all updated government regulations – Companies that routinely get into trouble are those that do not have an appointed compliance officer designated specifically to monitor government regulations concerning international trades.
- Not understanding shipping restrictions – Individuals and companies can ship a package abroad to a foreign country only to have it blocked and flagged due to an OFAC sanction.
- Not obtaining OFAC permission to trade or transact with an embargoed country
The substantial penalties for noncompliance can jeopardize national security and crucial foreign policy. The fine for a trade embargo violation is often substantial, where willful violation penalties can cost into the tens of millions of dollars in fines with or without extensive prison sentences of up to 30 years. Because of that, it is essential to hire a reputable trade embargo violations attorney for legal representation immediately.