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Diamond Bar Man Pleads Guilty in Import Tax Scheme

Sam Herbert Allen, a former U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory officer, will be sentenced June 12.

Patch file photo.
Patch file photo.

A former U.S. Customs and Border Protection supervisory officer pleaded guilty Thursday in Los Angeles to allowing his ex-wife and others to bring Chinese-made clothing into the United States without paying duties and taxes.

Sam Herbert Allen, 52, of Diamond Bar pleaded guilty to a federal charge of conspiracy to defraud the United States. Sentencing is set for June 12.

Allen was indicted in October 2012 on charges of conspiracy, bribery and making false statements to U.S. Department of Homeland Security investigators.

Working alongside his ex-wife, who he convinced to open a clothing importing business, and another defendant, Allen accepted bribes of $2,000 per shipment, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

During the course of the scheme, which operated from at least September 2009 until March 2010, Allen received more than $100,000 in bribe payments, prosecutors said.

Allen and his associates caused the United States to lose at least $780,000 in unpaid customs duties and taxes, according to the indictment.

Allen's ex-wife, Wei "Julia" Lai, was charged with crimes related to her role in the smuggling scheme in July 2011. She pleaded guilty the following year and is awaiting sentencing, set for July.

—City News Service

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