HOUSTON—The federal judge overseeing a fraud trial against the former president of tire importer and distributor Winland International Inc. and seven co-defendants has delayed their trial again, this time until Feb. 26, 2024.
The case involves Winland International (d.b.a. Super Tire) and seven individuals, who are accused of being involved in an importing scheme designed to dodge millions of dollars in anti-dumping duties.
Attorneys for defendant Miranda Zhou petitioned the court on Aug. 8 for a delay due to case's complexity—involving eight defendants (six of whom are fugitives), extensive discovery, and a 15-page indictment alleging a complex conspiracy to evade customs duties.
According to counsel's petition to the court, both the government and defense counsels are "actively engaged" in the discovery process, and thus there were no discovery issues to present to the court at that time.
The government and defense counsel are in pretrial negotiations and "hope to resolve the cause short of trial," the petition states, and additional time would benefit the negotiations for all parties
Alfred H. Bennett, a U.S. district judge in the Federal Court, Southern District of Texas, granted the delay.
Zhao pleaded not guilty to the charges in a hearing on Dec. 16, 2020. She has surrendered her passport and posted bail.