Authorities this week arrested Zheng "Miranda" Zhou, 53, of Missouri City, Texas, and Kun "Bruce" Liu, 40, of Sugar Land, Texas, the U.S. attorney said. Ms. Zhou and Mr. Liu are listed as president and vice president, respectively, of Winland International/Super Tire.
Also charged are Qinghua "Shirley" Song, 44, of Jurupa Valley, Calif., as well as Chinese residents Yue "Joanna" Peng, 42, Li "Cathy" Chen, 38, Xin "Devin" Zhang, age unknown, Shaohui "Jasper" Jia, 40, and Deng "David" Yongqiang, 36. Those charged are listed as either employees of Chinese tire makers or agents of Winland.
"They are all considered fugitives and warrants remain outstanding for their arrests," the U.S. Attorney's Office said.
The Department of Justice's Civil Division also filed a civil complaint in the U.S. Court of International Trade alleging trade fraud.
The complaint names the eight criminal defendants and six other individuals: Xiaozhen "Jenny" Zhang, 34, Di "Terry" Wang, 34, Liang "Leon" Yu, 49, Lin "Leo" Zhang, 37, Jinbing "David" Wang, 36, and Minglian "Bill" Li, 28.
Also named is Houston-area company Winland International Inc., d.b.a. Super Tire Inc. Mr. Wang lives in New Jersey and the remaining civil defendants reside in China, the government said.
Records also allegedly were falsified to understate the value of the tires, a move that also lowered the duties owed.
The U.S. attorney said at least $20.9 million worth of tires were involved and the U.S. missed out on more than $6.5 million in duties.
"For more than a decade, [Ms.] Zhou and her co-conspirators are alleged to have sought to gain an unfair competitive advantage at the expense of U.S. companies and consumers through a series of schemes in violation of fair trade practices and U.S. import regulations," Mark Dawson, special agent in charge, Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Houston, said in a statement.
The case involves anti-dumping duties placed on Chinese tires in 2008 and again in 2015.
In 2017, Winland International filed a complaint against U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) in the U.S. Court of International Trade (CIT), contesting a CBP decision to exclude a shipment of truck and bus tires from entering the U.S. because of questions about the accuracy of the tires' Department of Transportation identity codes.
According to its website, Super Tire sells a range of tires, including passenger, commercial, trailer, light truck, off-road, agricultural and industrial, under several brand names, such as: A-Plus, Boto, Dakota, DRC, Greatway, Joyall, MilePro and Super A.