To avoid paying the proper import tax, Timothy Stanfield of Ready Made RC intentionally understated the value of lithium polymer batteries from China.
The owner of Ready Made RC was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Columbus, Ohio, to six months of home confinement, five years of probation, 200 hours of community service, a $325 special assessment and $22,614.74 in restitution to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to cover unpaid duties.
To avoid paying the proper import tax, Timothy Stanfield intentionally understated the value of lithium polymer batteries he imported from China, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General (DOT-OIG), which said he also laundered money and violated safety regulations by improperly labeling, mailing and shipping the batteries, considered a hazardous material.
Ohio-based Ready Made RC sells radio-controlled model aircraft, drones and related parts and supplies. Between October 2012 and January 2015, Stanfield placed multiple orders valued at $778,395.60 with a Chinese company, Kypom Technology Stock Co. Ltd., investigators said. In January 2015, Customs and Border Protection agents inspected one shipment — 186 boxes containing 4,007 individual batteries. Stanfield’s declared value was $19,827, significantly less than the actual invoiced value of the batteries.
DOT-OIG said the batteries were not properly packaged or labeled for air cargo shipment. DOT safety regulations for hazardous materials apply to shipments of lithium polymer batteries because of their chemical contents and volatility.