Gwinnett company under fire for dodging duties

by: Carl Willis Updated:


A paper supply company formerly located in Gwinnett County is accused of flooding the U.S. with cheap Chinese paper and dodging more than $20 million in duties.

Apego Inc. was operating out of Lilburn in May 2006 when the U.S. Department of Commerce began investigating whether Chinese paper manufacturers were dumping their products in the American market.

The spokesperson of a major U.S. paper supplier told Channel 2's Carl Willis "dumping," or the practice of selling foreign products that can be sold below cost, pushes American manufacturers out of the market.

Executives of Apego Inc. are accused of transporting Chinese stationery, including loose-leaf paper and notebooks, to Taiwan.

U.S. attorneys accuse them of bribing Taiwanese customs officials so that they could then export the paper to America with products falsely labeled "Made in Taiwan."

The company shipped more than $21 million worth of product from May 2006 through February 2010.

By going through Taiwan rather than China, prosecutors said the company avoided paying anti-dumping duties of more than $20 million.

Monday, the company's chief financial officer, Jennifer Chen, appeared in court and was released on a $25,000 bond.

The company's chief executive officer and Chen's ex-husband, Curtis Gung, did not appear. According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, he recently traveled to Taiwan for medical treatment and said he will surrender next month.

The case is also being investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.