CEO admits falsifying forklift origins to US Army

News Story
- 14 Dec 2023 ( #1158 ) - Trenton, NJ, United States
1 min read

An executive has admitted falsifying data plates on forklifts provided to the United States Army to conceal their Chinese origins, according to U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey Philip R. Sellinger.

James Cai, the chief executive officer of Toner Connect, pleaded guilty in the Trenton federal court to one count of making false statements in connection with the provision of two forklifts to a U.S. Army installation, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's Office in the District of New Jersey.

The court heard Cai, through his company, submitted bids on and obtained contracts to supply various U.S. Army installations with forklifts from September 2018 to January 2019. 

The contracts required that the forklifts be compliant with the Buy American Act (BAA), which meant the forklifts had to be manufactured in the United States with at least 50% of the cost of the forklift components had to be of U.S. origin.

One of those contracts awarded Toner Connect USD247,000 for the provision of two FD150 diesel forklifts to Fort Cavazos in Killeen, Texas.

Despite the BAA clause in the contract, and in order to reduce costs, Cai purchased two forklifts from a company based in Shanghai in China. 

To conceal the origin of the forklifts and make them appear compliant with the BAA, Cai installed false data plates on the forklifts.

After the forklifts were delivered to Fort Cavazos on 26 August, 2019, Fort Cavazos personnel discovered that the forklifts had multiple operational problems and could not be repaired due to the concealment of their true make and model.

The charge to which Cai pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a maximum fine of USD250,000. Sentencing is scheduled for 11 April, 2024.

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