Smuggling Merchandise into the United States

Before a person can be convicted of the federal crime of smuggling merchandise into the United States, the prosecutor must prove the following three things beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. The person charged with smuggling brought merchandise into the United States without first declaring the merchandise for invoicing as required by law;
  2. The person charged knew the merchandise should have been invoiced; and
  3. The person charged acted willfully and with the intent to defraud the United States government.

Regarding the “intent to defraud,” the prosecutor does not have to prove that anyone was, in fact, defrauded.  Rather, she only has to prove that the person charged intended to defraud a person or a government agency.