Arrested Dec. 15 were Zheng "Miranda" Zhou, 53, of Missouri City, and Kun "Bruce" Liu, 40, of Sugar Land, the U.S. attorney said.
Also charged are Qinghua "Shirley" Song, 44, of Jurupa Valley, Calif., as well as Chinese residents Yue "Joanna" Peng, 42; Li "Cathy" Chen, 38; Xin "Devin" Zhang, age unknown; Shaohui "Jasper" Jia, 40; and Deng "David" Yongqiang, 36. "They are all considered fugitives and warrants remain outstanding for their arrests," the federal government said.
The Department of Justice's Civil Division also filed a civil complaint in the U.S. Court of International Trade alleging trade fraud. The complaint names the eight criminal defendants and six other individuals: Xiaozhen "Jenny" Zhang, 34; Di "Terry" Wang, 34; Liang "Leon" Yu, 49; Lin "Leo" Zhang, 37; Jinbing "David" Wang, 36; and Minglian "Bill" Li, 28. Also named is Houston-area company Winland International Inc., d.b.a. Super Tire Inc. David Wang lives in New Jersey and the remaining civil defendants reside in China, the government said.
Authorities allege defendants avoided anti-dumping duties on both off-the-road, light vehicle and truck tires imported from China. The scheme involved importing tires from companies subject to import duties but falsifying invoices and records of Chinese tire companies that were subject to lower duties than the actual manufacturers.
Records also allegedly were falsified to understate the value of the tires, a move that also lowered the duties owed.
The U.S. attorney said at least $20.9 million worth of tires were involved and the U.S. missed out on more than $6.5 million in duties.
"For more than a decade, Zhou and her co-conspirators are alleged to have sought to gain an unfair competitive advantage at the expense of U.S. companies and consumers through a series of schemes in violation of fair trade practices and U.S. import regulations," Mark B. Dawson, special agent in charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Houston, said in a statement.