TITLE 18 - CRIMES AND CRIMINAL PROCEDURE
PART I - CRIMES
CHAPTER 27 - CUSTOMS
Sec. 542. Entry of goods by means of false statements
Whoever enters or introduces, or attempts to enter or introduce,
into the commerce of the United States any imported merchandise by
means of any fraudulent or false invoice, declaration, affidavit,
letter, paper, or by means of any false statement, written or
verbal, or by means of any false or fraudulent practice or
appliance, or makes any false statement in any declaration without
reasonable cause to believe the truth of such statement, or
procures the making of any such false statement as to any matter
material thereto without reasonable cause to believe the truth of
such statement, whether or not the United States shall or may be
deprived of any lawful duties; or
Whoever is guilty of any willful act or omission whereby the
United States shall or may be deprived of any lawful duties
accruing upon merchandise embraced or referred to in such invoice,
declaration, affidavit, letter, paper, or statement, or affected by
such act or omission -
Shall be fined for each offense under this title or imprisoned
not more than two years, or both.
Nothing in this section shall be construed to relieve imported
merchandise from forfeiture under other provisions of law.
The term "commerce of the United States", as used in this
section, shall not include commerce with the Virgin Islands,
American Samoa, Wake Island, Midway Islands, Kingman Reef, Johnston
Island, or Guam.
(June 25, 1948, ch. 645, 62 Stat. 715; June 30, 1955, ch. 258, Sec.
2(c), 69 Stat. 242; Pub. L. 103-322, title XXXIII, Secs.
330004(18), 330016(1)(K), Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2142, 2147;
Pub. L. 104-294, title VI, Sec. 604(b)(23), Oct. 11, 1996, 110
HISTORICAL AND REVISION NOTES
Based on section 1591 of title 19, U.S.C., 1940 ed., Customs
Duties (June 17, 1930, ch. 497, title IV, Sec. 591, 46 Stat. 750;
Aug. 5, 1935, ch. 438, title III, Sec. 304(a), 49 Stat. 527).
The reference in the first paragraph to persons aiding, contained
in the phrase "or aids," was omitted as unnecessary as such persons
are made principals by section 2 of this title.
Words "upon conviction" before "be fined" were omitted as
surplusage since punishment cannot be imposed until conviction is
Enumeration of persons at beginning of section and provision
preserving forfeitures where authorized by law were omitted as
The fourth paragraph was added to the revised section to make
clear the intent of Congress that forfeiture is an additional
consequence independent of the criminal punishment.
The final paragraph was added to conform with section 1709 of
title 19, U.S.C., 1940 ed.
Changes in phraseology were also made.
1996 - Pub. L. 104-294 amended Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 330004(18).
See 1994 Amendment note below.
1994 - Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 330016(1)(K), substituted "fined
under this title" for "fined not more than $5,000" in third par.
Pub. L. 103-322, Sec. 330004(18), as amended by Pub. L. 104-294,
Sec. 604(b)(23), struck out "Philippine Islands," before "Virgin
Islands" in last par.
1955 - Act June 30, 1955, inserted reference to Johnston Island
in last par.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1996 AMENDMENT
Amendment by Pub. L. 104-294 effective Sept. 13, 1994, see
section 604(d) of Pub. L. 104-294, set out as a note under section
13 of this title.
EFFECTIVE DATE OF 1955 AMENDMENT
Amendment by act June 30, 1955, effective July 1, 1955, see
section 2(d) of act June 30, 1955, set out as a note under section
1401 of Title 19, Customs Duties.
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