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Woman Gets 3 Years For Helping Smuggle Chinese Honey
By Lance Duroni
Chicago (September 30, 2013, 7:34 PM ET) -- A U.S.-based agent for a dozen
Chinese honey importers was sentenced Monday to three years in prison for her role in
smuggling operations that allegedly avoided nearly $40 million of anti-dumping
At a federal court hearing in Chicago, Hung Yi Lin — who pled guilty last year
to three counts of entry of goods into the U.S. by means of false statements —
was also ordered to pay $512,852 in restitution, but avoided the six-year
prison sentence sought by prosecutors.
Lin, 43, also known as Katy Lin, allegedly played a pivotal role in helping her
clients falsify documents on shipping containers loaded with Chinese-origin
honey from 2009 to 2012, making it appear that they were filled with sugars or
syrups. Through the California-based company she owned and operated, KBB
Express Inc., Lin ultimately helped bring $11.5 million of honey into the
country that dodged $39.2 million in anti-dumping duties and honey assessments,
according to prosecutors.
But Lin’s attorney, Ken Miller of Bienert Miller
& Katzman PLC, described his client Monday as a hard-working immigrant entrepreneur who was
used by the Chinese honey importers and did not share in the spoils from the
alleged scheme. She was merely a freight-forwarder that earned between $30,000
and $80,000 annually during the years in question, he said, adding that a
probation-only sentence would be sufficient punishment.
A tearful Lin told U.S. District Judge Milton I. Shadur that she was not
attempting to flee prosecution last year when she was arrested on her way out
of the country, claiming she was going to visit her parents in Taiwan for the
Chinese New Year.
"I’m really sorry if anything I did hurt this country. I came here for my
dream,” she said.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros countered that Lin repeatedly
participated in a sophisticated scheme over a three-year period, calling her
role "absolutely critical.” He also stressed the damage to the U.S. honey
industry caused when the price of honey collapsed due to the smuggling
operation and others like it.
"She caused a lot of harm to a lot of people — and to a very weak industry,”
Boutros said. "This is not a victimless crime.”
Backing his point, several owners of beekeeping businesses and others in the
industry appeared at the hearing to tell their stories. Timothy Mullins,
managing partner at EJ Mullins Co., said his firm’s Dutch Gold Honey unit in
Lancaster, Pa., was nearly run out of business in 2010 after a "tsunami” of
illegal honey poured into the U.S. from China.
Judge Shadur ultimately departed from the sentencing guidelines cited by the
prosecution — which called for around a six-year sentence — giving Lin credit
for her cooperation with the government even though it did not lead to any
additional arrests or prosecutions. He also said it was "particularly
regrettable” that Lin had created harm that was "way out of proportion with any
benefit she derived.”
Lin’s arrest was part of a much larger government
probe of Chinese honey smuggling operations that allegedly dodged
$180 million in anti-dumping duties combined. Two domestic honey processing
companies — Honey Holding I Ltd. and Groeb Farms Inc. — both inked deferred
prosecution agreements last year as a result of the investigation, agreeing to
pay fines of $1 million and $2 million, respectively.
In addition to Lin, four other individuals were charged last year for their
alleged roles in the smuggling operations, including Douglas Murphy, Honey
Holding’s former director of sales, and Donald Couture, president of honey
distributor Premium Food Sales Inc.
Lin is represented by Kenneth M. Miller of Bienert Miller & Katzman PLC,
and John T. Theis.
The case is U.S. v. Hung Yi Lin, case number 1:13-cr-00125, in the U.S. District Court for the
Northern District of Illinois.
BROKER SENTENCED TO THREE YEARS IN PRISON FOR AVOIDING $39.2 MILLION IN TARIFFS
ON CHINESE-ORIGIN HONEY
CHICAGO — A California
woman was sentenced today to three years in federal prison for illegally transporting hundreds of container loads of Chinese-origin
honey through the Chicago area after it entered the country illegally. The defendant,
HUNG YI LIN, also known as "Katy Lin,” 42, of Temple City, Calif., pleaded guilty
in May to three counts of violating U.S. importation laws by falsely declaring that
the honey shipments contained sugars, syrups, and apple juice concentrate to avoid
$39.2 million in anti-dumping duties.
Lin, who owns
and operates KBB Express Inc., of South El Monte, Calif., and served as the U.S.
agent for at least 12 importers that were controlled by Chinese honey producers
and manufacturers, was sentenced to a year in prison on each of the three counts,
to be served consecutively, by U.S. District Judge Milton Shadur. Lin was ordered
to begin serving her sentence on Nov. 12. She was also ordered to pay restitution
of $512,852 in unpaid tariffs.
is the result of an extensive worldwide investigation that successfully dismantled
the largest food fraud scheme in U.S. history,” said Gary Hartwig, Special Agent-in-
Charge of HSI Chicago. "Lin’s illegal business
practices cheated the U.S. government of nearly $40 million, while also inflicting
damage on the domestic honey marketplace. We remain committed to protecting U.S.
businesses from fraudulent trade practices, while fostering and facilitating the
movement of legitimate trade across our borders that is critical to our economy.”
According to court
documents, between 2009 and 2012, Lin schemed to falsify the importation documents
for hundreds of containers of Chinese-origin honey by misrepresenting the contents
as sugars and syrups. As a result, the
honey, which had an aggregate declared value of nearly $11.5 million when it entered
the country, avoided antidumping duties and honey assessments totaling $39.2 million.
The sentence was
announced by Gary S. Shapiro, United States Attorney for the Northern District of
Illinois and Mr. Hartwig, as well as officials with Field Operations for U.S. Customs
and Border Protection (CBP) in Chicago, and the Chicago Field Office of the Food
and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations.
Lin was among
a group of individuals and companies who were charged earlier this year in the second
phase of an investigation led by agents of
U.S. Immigration and Customs
Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS). See: http://www.justice.gov/usao/iln/pr/chicago/2013/pr0220
In December 2001,
the Commerce Department determined that Chinese-origin honey was being sold in the
United States at less than fair market value, and imposed antidumping duties. The
duties were as high as 221 percent of the declared value, and later were assessed
against the entered net weight, currently at $2.63 per net kilogram, in addition
to a "honey assessment fee” of one cent per pound of all honey. In October 2002,
the Food and Drug Administration issued an import alert for honey containing the
antibiotic Chloramphenicol, a broad spectrum antibiotic that is used to treat serious
infections in humans, but which is not approved for use in honey.
certain antibiotics is deemed "adulterated” within the meaning of federal food and
drug safety laws.
In 2008, federal
authorities began investigating allegations involving circumventing antidumping
duties through illegal imports, including transshipment and mislabeling, on the
"supply side” of the honey industry. The second phase of the investigation involved
the illegal buying, processing, and trading of honey that illegally entered the
U.S. on the "demand side” of the industry.
is being represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Andrew S. Boutros.
Are you Listed on the Almond Board of
California Pollination Directory?
Almond Board of California has re-structured our Pollination Directory located on the Board’s website. The Pollination
Directory contains information for California almond growers to use as a
valuable resource for beekeepers and bee brokers. In order to provide a useful tool to our
industry members, your assistance is needed to ensure the information is
Please log on to the Almond Board of California Pollination Directory by following the
Almond Pollination Directory
your respective bee affiliation from the list of options on the left under
"Additional Resources” (e.g., Beekeepers, Bee Brokers at the bottom of the
your business is currently on the website, please review your information and
submit any changes that need to be made by selecting the "Update Beekeeper
Info” button on the bottom left (in orange)
you are not on the site, and would like to participate, please select the
"Update Beekeeper Info” button on the bottom left (in orange) and complete the
form. Please note: business descriptions
may be edited at the discretion of the Almond Board.
We would like the directory information
to be current for the upcoming 2014 bloom, so please act now.
have any questions about the Pollination
Directory or need assistance adding your information to the website, please
call Debye Hunter at 209.343.3230 or e-mail her at email@example.com.
you for your participation and best wishes on a successful almond pollination
AHPA is testifying!
AHPA President Randy Verhoek and Past President, Richard Adee along with Mike
Coursey from Kelley Dryer, Peter Kallas from Kallas Honey, Jill Clark with True
Souce/Dutch Gold Honey and others are in Chicago, Il. today. They are there to
testify as to the severe economic damage the actions of Cathy Lin, one of the
freight forwarders convicted in the honey circumvention fraud involving Chinese
Honey. The purpose of their testimony is to get jail time and fines to cause a
deterrent for future fraud.
Now That We Have Your Attention:
The recent issue of the "AHPA
Latest News Sept. 24, 2013” is a prime example of some of the mind - set that
AHPA and other honeybee advocacy groups have been up against. It’s Varroa, Nosema, Virus’, Nutrition or anything
but pesticides except the ones that beekeepers use to kill Varroa! These
articles have sparked controversy among the beekeeping community. "Get two
beekeepers in a room, and you will have three opinions.” However, the articles within the AHPA posting
inspire us all to ask if beekeepers forgot how to be beekeepers? Beekeepers are the caregivers of managed
honeybees, the honeybees are sentinels of our environment. We cannot continue to "shoot the messenger,
and damn the honeybees.”
I have a question for you.
Are your bees better off today than they were pre 2006? Not all beekeepers
experience the same environmental interactions.
Commercial beekeepers traveling around the country from almonds, to
cherries, to apples, to blueberries, to pumpkins will experience an interaction
with herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides that a beekeeper who pollinates
only in their home state will not. And a
beekeeper with six hives in their back yard will have nothing of the
experiences of the two commercial beekeepers.
The different experiences,
are simply that: different experiences.
A different experience does not mean bad beekeeping, irrational
behavior, or lying. It is simply a
different experience. Just as two hives
sitting next to each other may forage on different plants, so can environmental
interactions affect hives differently in close proximity. It could all depend on how the wind blows,
Some beekeepers are losing
their hives to the cocktail
of pesticides their bees are encountering.
Some beekeepers are seeing their hives weakened due to the sub-lethal
effects of the pesticide load within their food stores: pollen and nectar. Research has shown that the toxicity of each
insecticide, fungicide, herbicide, and adjuvant should be added together when
the "total” pesticide is put into use.
It is this "total” toxicity that weakens the immune system of honeybees. A recent study showed a correlation between
susceptibility of nosema
and fungicide exposure.
Beekeepers know that Varroa
mite transfers diseases to bees. Beekeepers
know the many tests to determine their mite load. Beekeepers know their bees. A West Virginia beekeeper who participated in
a "guess how many mites are in the jar” test, guessed correctly; and he
admitted he "guessed” since he forgot his glasses that day. But he knows bees; he knows honeybees in his
community. He has been a beekeeper for
more than 50 years. He has not forgotten about how to be a beekeeper. He is part of a beekeeping community that
talks to each other, learns from each other, supports our successes, and stands
together when bees and beekeepers are threatened. You the reader of this
article maybe a third or fourth generation beekeeper. Have you forgotten how to
Honeybees have been at the
forefront of the media for a number of years.
Some media is good, some is not.
For beekeepers we were awakened to how much the public does NOT know
about honeybees, beekeepers, and crop pollination. We have spent much time and effort to educate
the media and the public about honeybees and beekeeping, and their importance
to a sustainable and affordable food supply.
Beekeepers are not acting like "Chicken Little,” the sky is
falling. Beekeepers in the U.S and
around the world are suffering more than the typical winter losses. Those winter losses, for some beekeepers are
starting to become summer losses as well.
Colonies come back after a winter, spend the growing season in
agriculture, or even on native ground and are still dwindling too fast, losing
too many of the colonies’ population, months before the winter slow down. These are experiences of some beekeepers, not
all. These are the experiences of a few
beekeepers in your neighborhood when the county sprays for mosquitos—before
sundown. These are the experiences of
far too many commercial beekeepers whose bees pollinate six or seven crops, who
get inundated with a dozen or more different pesticides, with colony food stores
full of pesticides. Bees that experience
direct sprays of pesticides when they are applied during the daytime and the
crop is in bloom; the pesticides are applied on a windy day and blow onto
nearby natural forage; the pesticide residue lingers on the plant directly
exposing the bees, or it drifts into a natural water source and the bees drink
These are different
experiences of different beekeepers.
These experiences are happening to beekeepers. It may not be happening to your colonies, but
it may be happening to a beekeeper in your local association. It may only be occurring mostly in one part
of your state. Your colonies may have
survived a hurricane only to have the county spray fresh water sources for
mosquitoes, and that spray wiped out your colonies.
Colonies of managed honeybees
have increased since 1961 as other countries agriculture has increased, and the
need for managed hives increased. But losses of colonies annually has
increased. Beekeepers are still experiencing
greater winter losses than has been the norm.
If we want to eradicate the
Varroa mite we could as researchers have suggested, as "mother nature”
practices—survival of the fittest.
However, it would take twenty years for honeybees to evolve and adapt to
eradicate Varroa. While the "power of
the market” approach would appeal to the Committee
for Constructive Tomorrow, it is not a viable one for the industrial
agriculture we have today, or for beekeeping in particular.
The American Honey Producers
Association, and other bee industry trade and advocacy groups do not want to
ban pesticides. We have needed and used
pesticides to fight Varroa. Beekeeping is
an important part of agriculture; we realize the need to fight crop pests. AHPA is working toward the development
of BMP’s and IPM on current fungicides, pesticides, and Insect Growth
Regulators in a manner that minimizes stress on honey bees while protecting the
nation’s crops. The American Honey Producers Association is
working with the Tucson lab to track 300 hives across a year to collect
real-world data on the experience of migratory colonies. We are working with the Baton Rouge lab with
a continuous effect study of pesticides on honeybees and queens. AHPA is
working with other national bee industry groups, the EPA, USDA-ARS, SETAC, and
others to improve research and determine the solutions to the decline of
While divergent opinions fill
the beekeeping community, the personal experience of beekeepers should not be
discounted. Just because not all
beekeepers are experiencing the same things with their colonies does not mean
we should disparage another’s experience.
All beekeepers are "citizen scientists,” observing and working their
hives. All beekeepers experience the environment differently, just as your bees
Now you know as they say,
"the rest of the story”.
beekeepers can exchange 'terrible tasting' red honey
Amy Joi O'Donoghue
CITY — State agriculture officials are advising Utah beekeepers who have
discovered red honey in their hives to seek relief through a honey exchange
beekeeper community has been reporting economic losses in the thousands after
bees that were fed a sugary substance derived from candy canes began producing
the red honey.
the off-colored honey cannot be sold or marketed as honey because it does not
meet the legal description.
fears were the honey also may have contained lead in amounts dangerous for
human consumption, but test results announced Tuesday showed no detectable
levels of lead.
The state said beekeepers with red honey can exchange their
product for traditional honey by contacting the Wasatch Beekeepers Association.
On the association's website,
the beekeeper said the substance was being used to bolster packages arriving
late out of California.
An exchange has been set up for Oct. 5 in Salt Lake City and in Orem. Read More
Schwan's and University of Minnesota just launched a fundraising effort
of Minnesota has launched a fundraising campaign, Bee Research, and we need
your help. Our goal is to raise $100,000 between Aug 22 2013 and Oct 06 2013.
out our campaign page and support us by buying food at schwans.com.
For every purchase Schwan's will give 20% of your purchase, or $10.00 from an
e-certificate purchase, in support of our
campaign, and you will get great food for your friends and family! Also any
future purchases beyond the 45 day campaign result in a 5% donation per order
for the next 11 months.
will need to use the website to the campaign: http://schwans.flipgive.com/campaigns/951-bee-research-university-of-minnesota/users/2246-jerry-haus
Thank you for your support!
questions EPA pesticide approvals
The Environmental Protection Agency is giving the green
light to some pesticides without enough data to prove they are safe, a report
for Congress warns.
In a 52-page report released Monday, the Government Accountability Office raises
concerns about EPA’s method of granting conditional approval for new uses of
pesticides in advance of receiving full reports from the manufacturers to
support the safety of their use. The findings in the report come amid growing
concern over the effects of pesticides on humans and the environment, which
have been linked to neurological disorders and cancer, among other things.
officials, in response to recommendations in GAO’s report, "EPA Should Take
Steps To Improve Its Oversight Of Conditional Registrations,” have agreed to
update their systems to allow for the easier tracking of conditional
registrations and better monitor submission of the needed data.
However, the agency in a July 18 letter to Alfredo Gomez,
GAO’s acting director, also defends its conditional registration program.
While EPA has "made mistakes in how it has identified the
states of conditionally and unconditionally registered pesticides” and has
limitations in tracking the submission of data, "all conditionally registered
products meet applicable legal standards, and pesticides have not been allowed
in the marketplace without adequate testing to ensure safety to both human
health and the environment,” the letter says. READ MORE
Meet the New Project Apis m. - Costco Scholar!
Beekeeping community, get acquainted withthis smiling
face! Introducing Laura Brutscher, the new PAm-Costco Scholar.
Laura is the recipient of Project Apis m.'s three-year $50,000/year award
to pursue her PhD -- helping bees.
Laura Brutscher is a Ph.D. student in the Microbiology
Department at Montana State University where she is investigating the role of
microbes (bacteria, viruses, fungi) in maintaining and disrupting colony health
and how microbes may relate to the recent surge of honey bee losses. In
addition, Laura will investigate what genes are essential for honey bee
antiviral immunity. Laura is co-mentored by Dr. Michelle Flenniken, a
virologist/ microbiologist investigating honey bee host-pathogen interactions,
and Dr. Carl Yeoman, an expert on rumen/gastrointestinal microbiology in
organisms ranging from humans to honey bees. Lauragrew up on a dairy farm
in Little Falls, MN, where her passion for nature and science developed early.
She obtained her Bachelor of Fine Arts from Concordia College in Moorhead, MN,
with a major in biology in 2012 and joined the Molecular Biosciences graduate
program at Montana State in August 2012. Since beginning her research, Laura
has been actively involved in maintaining the university's honey bee colonies
and sampling/surveying the honey bee-associated microbes in commercial
colonies. She looks forward to sharing her research findings with both the
scientific and beekeeping communities in order to improve honey bee health.
Research Unit Proposal
at theTucson honey bee lab, the molecular ecology lab of Dr. Kirk
Anderson has made a proposal to the honey bee industry of
what in essence would be a 300 hive migratory bee research unit. Dr.
serves as the adviser for three PhD students from the University of
Arizona that have been keeping their own bees, and will be the
driving force behind this venture. The immediate goals to cooperate
number of commercial beekeepers to gain practical beekeeping
experience and help move these colonies to California for almond
other test sites throughout the West. Pollination contracts would help
offset some of the costs.
These colonies would be used for experimental purposes as well as
monitoring with field data being collected and processed by the labs of
and Dr. Carroll in Tucson. This is a good concept and is relevant to the
of research we need today.
For commercial beekeepers with a serious interest in cooperating with this serious endeavor please contact Dr. Anderson. firstname.lastname@example.org
Red 'honey' in Utah may come
from candy-fed bees
OREM — "Red” honey is
turning up in commercial hives in multiple counties in Utah, causing
losses already in the tens of thousands of dollars for business owners
and prompting a state investigation.
State inspectors Wednesday said it is believed a yet-to-be-named large
beekeeping operation began "open-feeding” bees with a concoction of
crushed, rehydrated candy canes and other candy materials. Other bees
discovered the caches and returned contaminated to surrounding bee
"The way we’re looking at it, it’s just a little over $50,000,” said
Orem-based 3 Bee Honey owner Chris Spencer. "The impact could be
Spencer said he began to notice the red honey showing up in July and
already has had to dump 30 to 40 pounds of it. The totals, he said,
could rise to hundreds of pounds by the end of the year.
Additionally, he said "breeder queens” have had to be removed for
evaluation, and he has observed problems with brood production, as well
as collecting genetic material from drones.
NATIONAL HONEY MONTH!
Learn the Buzz Behind Nature's Liquid
Firestone, Colo., September 1, 2013 - September is National Honey Month, and
what better time to celebrate one of nature's simplest pleasures - honey.
Honey is a
natural product that contains just one ingredient:
honey. Harvesting honey is an ancient artisanal craft that is both an art and science. The honey bees gather nectar from flowering
plants, and beekeepers collect honey from the beehives. The
journey from harvesting to distributing
honey is multifaceted. The bees simply collect nectar, add a few enzymes and store it in the honeycomb.
But all of the color, flavor and
aroma comes from the particular flower from which the nectar was collected.
There are more than 300 varietals of honey, ranging greatly in flavor and
appearance. After the honey is removed from the beehive and extracted by a
beekeeper, it is shipped off to a honey
packer, who warms the honey and removes any foreign material or residue from the beehive, often including
pollens may have been introduced
during the extraction process.
In a 2013
Attitude and Usage study \ the National Honey Board (NHB) learned that when purchasing
honey, 48 percent of consumers prefer for honey to be brilliantly
clear and golden. Consumers also
responded that they are increasingly
likely to prefer honey that has pollen grains filtered out. The
whether there is pollen in honey or not, it's still honey.
benefits of honey make it easily accessible
for consumers to use in their daily lives,"
Boynton, CEO of the
NHB. "Honey is a whole food that has other
uses outside of the culinary realm." As a
carbohydrate, honey is a natural energy
booster throughout the day. With humectant
honey draws and retains moisture to help hydrate the skin. It is also recommended by the American Academy
of Pediatrics and the World Health
Organization as a natural cough suppressant in
children after the age of one.
To read more
about the journey from hive to bottle, visit www.storyofhoney.comand for more
information on honey and honey recipes, please visit www.honey.com. To find a specific
varietal near you, visit www.honeylocator.com .
Honey Board is a federal research and promotion board under USDA oversight that
conducts research, marketing and promotion programs to help maintain and
expand markets for honey and honey products. These programs are funded by an
assessment of one cent per pound on domestic and imported honey.