A Paramount clothing company pleaded guilty Thursday to federal charges of undervaluing imported garments to dodge millions of dollars in customs fees, and also admitted doing business with a woman in Mexico tied to the Sinaloa drug cartel.
Ghacham Inc. — doing business under the name Platini — entered its plea through a representative in Los Angeles federal court to conspiracy to pass false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse and conspiracy to engage in a transaction or dealing in properties of a specially designated narcotics trafficker.
Company executive Mohamed Ghacham, 38, of Bell, pleaded guilty to a single count of conspiracy to pass false and fraudulent papers through a customhouse.
The company undervalued shipments of clothing from China by more than $32 million between July 2011 and February 2021 to avoid paying nearly $6.4 million in customs fees.
Ghacham Inc. did business with Maria Tiburcia Cazarez Perez, whom federal authorities have linked to leaders of the Mexico-based Sinaloa Cartel. Companies are barred from doing business with her under the Kingpin Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Ghacham Inc. faces a fine of $10.5 million and five years probation at sentencing on March 24. Mohamed Ghacham faces up to five years in federal prison, prosecutors said.