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Defendant Sentenced to 17 Years and Fined $26.9 Million in Freon Smuggling Scheme

Release Date: 06/02/2004
Contact Information:

Suzanne Ackerman, 202-564-7819 /

(06/02/04) Marc M. Harris was sentenced on May 21 to serve 17 years in prison, pay a federal fine of $20,324,560 and pay the Internal Revenue Service $6,588,949 in restitution by the U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for his conviction on charges of defrauding the IRS, conspiracy to commit money laundering and evading federal excise taxes for smuggling the restricted chlorofluorocarbon refrigerant commonly known as “Freon” into the United States. He will also serve three years of supervised release. Importation of Freon is taxable and is highly regulated under the Montreal Protocol, because its release into the atmosphere depletes the earth’s protective ozone layer. High doses of the sun’s radiation can cause skin cancer and cataracts in people. The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Customs Service and the Jacksonville Area Office of EPA’s Criminal Investigation Division. It was prosecuted by U.S. Department of Justice’s Tax Division in Washington, D.C. and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami.