China’s largest aluminum extrusion company and its former president and chairman were accused of hatching a scheme to avoid paying $1.8 billion in tariffs by disguising “huge amounts” of aluminum as pallets and smuggling the material into the U.S., according to a federal indictment.

China Zhongwang Holdings Ltd. and Zhongtian Liu are also accused of engineering bogus sales of the aluminum to related entities to inflate the company’s revenues and deceive investors. According to authorities, the aluminum was shipped through Southern California ports and stockpiled in local warehouses that were owned by companies under Liu’s control.

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