Regulatory intelligence for US exporters

FMC Seeking to Revoke License of Freight Forwarder Involved in Illegal Export Scheme

The Federal Maritime Commission is looking to revoke a Miami freight forwarder’s ocean transportation intermediary license after its owners illegally exported nearly 600 stolen outboard motors from the U.S., including by providing false shipping documents to CBP. The company, Netcycle Trading, told the FMC it should be allowed to keep the license, but the FMC is asking its administrative law judge to rule against the forwarder after its president submitted “misleading” comments to the commission that downplayed her role in the scheme.

The FMC’s Bureau of Certification and Licensing moved to revoke Netcycle’s OTI license earlier this year after the company’s owners, Nadia Ledesma and Carlos Orlando Ledesma, were sentenced to prison in 2023 for conspiracy to illegally export more than $11 million worth of stolen motors from the U.S. to Mexico. DOJ said they both created fake bills of sale and submitted false export information to the U.S. government, and the FMC said Nadia Ledesma “personally aided in the creation of” those false documents “that were ultimately submitted” to CBP, helping the company charge nearly $500,000 to export the motors.

Nadia Ledesma has since “chosen to massively downplay her role in the conspiracy” to the FMC, the commission said. In a request for an FMC hearing that Netcycle submitted in March, she wrote that she “had a lack incident in handling of control and security over business confidential information” and blamed a former employee for the scheme. “Unfortunately for us, the damage was already done and as principal officer of corporation I assumed the responsibility in my fault,” she told the FMC.

The commission said that statement was “in contrast to the representations she made to the U.S. District Court while facing criminal charges,” adding that she “suggested to this Commission that she merely offered herself up and ‘assumed responsibility.’” She also implied that the illegal exports took place mostly without her involvement.

“This, based on Ms. Ledesma’s own previous statements, is at least a grossly misleading characterization of events, if not an outright lie,” the FMC said.

The commission also said Netcycle’s OTI license revocation was justified because the criminal conduct “goes to the very core of providing OTI services,” and the company failed to notify the FMC that its owners were indicted and convicted. “Netcycle has similarly shown itself unable to meet Commission deadlines even in the filing of its response in this proceeding,” the FMC said.

And although Ledesma said she plans to divest herself from Netcycle, she “remains on the board, in ownership, and has provided no evidence that she has begun the processes of transfer” that Netcycle said “she would ultimately undertake,” the FMC said. “The fact that Netcycle has shown a questionable ability to comply with other Commission regulations and deadlines only emphasizes the appropriateness of revocation in these circumstances.”

The commission asked an administrative law judge to uphold the FMC’s March determination to revoke Netcycle’s OTI license and order the company to cease and desist all OTI activities.

A Netcycle spokesperson didn’t comment.