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Exec Pleads Guilty To 'Honey Laundering'

CHICAGO (CBS) - A honey import executive who pleaded guilty to conspiring to avoid more than $5 million in U.S. anti-dumping duties has been sentenced to 30 months in prison.

Hung Ta Fan, who also used the name Michael Fan, was sentenced Friday in U.S. District Court in Chicago and was ordered to pay about $5.38 million in restitution. He pleaded guilty to the charges in August.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement alleged Fan imported Chinese honey and then falsely identified it as coming from South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and India.

Fan, the owner of several California-based import firms, admitted that between 2005 and 2006 he conspired to illegally import 98 shipments of Chinese honey to avoid paying duties. He also admitted to conspiring to import honey diluted with artificial sugar.

After serving his sentence, Fan will be targeted with deportation.

The charges against Fan stemmed from an ongoing probe into the German honey conglomerate Alfred L. Wolff GmbH. Eleven more individuals and six corporations were charged in latest federal complaint of "honey laundering" in September.

Separately, a total of 11 people and six corporations were also charged with what amounts to "honey laundering" by federal authorities in Chicago in September

Federal prosecutors allege that 10 top executives of Alfred L. Wolff GmbH conspired to illegally import more than $40 million worth of honey from China between 2002 and 2009, and concealed its origin to avoid paying nearly $80 million in anti-dumping duties.

(TM and © Copyright 2010 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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