On August 30th, Michael Brian Anderson was sentenced to a 77-month prison term in a U.S. federal court for crimes related to the fraudulent submission of applications for and receipt of funds under the Continued Dumping and Subsidy Offset Act (CDSOA) program.
Over the last eleven years, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has distributed over $268 million in antidumping duties collected on shrimp imports entered into the United States prior to October 1, 2007 to eligible members of the shrimp industry through the CDSOA program. From the outset, however, CBP’s administration of the program had been characterized by a lack of oversight and a failure to verify claims, including egregious claims such as those submitted by Mr. Anderson that were dramatically inconsistent with those of similarly-situated industry members. The lack of significant oversight led the Southern Shrimp Alliance to file a lawsuit at the U.S. Court of International Trade against CBP in 2008 challenging the agency’s administration of the CDSOA program. Although that lawsuit was ultimately dismissed, in response to the industry’s complaints regarding obvious fraud, CBP and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began to apply more scrutiny to claims that had dubious support.
Mr. Anderson’s conviction resulted from a joint criminal investigation conducted by CBP, HSI, and the United States Coast Guard Investigative Service. That investigation looked into Mr. Anderson’s claim of roughly $24 million in qualified expenditures for his Georgia-based shrimp business that resulted in the disbursement of approximately $800,000 in CDSOA funds to him. According to the U.S. Attorney’s office, Mr. Anderson used the funds he received from the CDSOA program to purchase boats, stocks, and real estate.
In addition to the prison term, the Court issued an order requiring Mr. Anderson to pay $818,234 in restitution to the federal government. Mr. Anderson’s sentence was longer than the standard guidelines for the case “because of aggravating factors that included Anderson’s perjury during the trial and the number of victims in the case, including the use of a deceased person to further the scheme.”
It is the Southern Shrimp Alliance’s understanding that CBP and HSI continue to investigate potentially fraudulent CDSOA claims. Disbursements continue to be made to the shrimp industry under the CDSOA program, with another distribution expected to occur before the end of this year.
Read the September 10, 2018 press release from the U.S. Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of Georgia, “Tybee Island Shrimper Sentenced to More Than Six Years in Prison, Ordered to Pay Nearly $1 Million in Fraud Restitution,” here: https://www.justice.gov/usao-sdga/pr/tybee-island-shrimper-sentenced-more-six-years-prison-ordered-pay-nearly-1-million