Rensselaer businessman sentenced for wire fraud

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RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A Rensselaer County businessman was sentenced in a wire fraud scheme to import Chinese goods and then marketing those goods as U.S. made. The U.S. Department of Justice says Daren Arakelian, 53, has been sentenced to three months in jail for deceptively marketing those goods at his company.

Arakelian owned and operated Great 4 Image, a company that contracted with various federal agencies to produce backpacks, duffle bags, cinch bags, hydration packs, t-shirts and individual suspension trainers.  Each of his company’s contracts required Great 4 Image to comply with the Buy American Act and/or the Trade Agreements Act, laws that Congress enacted for the purposes of promoting the United States’ trade interests.

The Buy American Act restricts the federal government’s purchase of goods that are not domestic products.  The Trade Agreements Act establishes additional restrictions on purchases of products made outside the United States, and generally prohibits government contracting officials from purchasing products that are not entirely from the United States or a designated country.

The Trade Agreements Act effectively waives the requirements of the Buy American Act for designated countries. China is not a designated country.

As part of his March 2020 civil settlement with the United States and his guilty plea, Arakelian admitted that he devised and implemented the scheme to defraud the federal government.

Arakelian is also ordered to serve a two-year term of supervised release, to begin after he is released from prison, as well as perform 100 hours of community service. Arakelian went into custody after sentencing.

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