The CEO of a New Jersey-based company has admitted to falsifying data plates on forklifts provided to the U.S. Army to make it appear as if the forklifts, which were purchased in China, had been manufactured in America.

In federal court earlier this week, 33-year-old James Cai of Hackensack pleaded guilty to one count of making false statements in connection with the provision of two forklifts to a U.S. Army installation, Fort Cavazos, in Killeen, TX.

From September 2018 to January 2019, Cai, through his company, Toner Connect LLC, submitted bids on and obtained contracts to supply various Army installations with forklifts.

Those contracts required that the forklifts be compliant with the Buy American Act (BAA), which means the forklifts had to be manufactured in the United States and at least 50 percent of the cost of the forklift components had to be of U.S. origin.

According to officials, one of those contracts awarded Toner Connect LLC $247,000 for the provision of two FD150 diesel forklifts to Fort Cavazos. Despite the BAA clause in that contract, and in order to reduce costs, Cai purchased the two forklifts from a company based in Shanghai, China.

To conceal the origin of the forklifts and make them appear compliant with the BAA, Cai installed data plates on the forklifts that falsely stated:

Final Assembly in the USA
Millennial Enterprise LLC
Newark, NJ 07102
North American Headquarters

Cai's scheme began to unravel when after the forklifts were delivered to Fort Cavazos in August 2019, personnel discovered that they had multiple problems and could not be repaired due to the concealment of their true make and model.

Cai now faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Sentencing is scheduled for April 11th.

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