As I wrote in the main post, our company, American Energy Products LLC (“AEP”) was a Houston, Texas based manufacturer of butane gas canisters used in outdoor cooking, catering and camping activities. Our company was the only manufacturer of its kind in America making this product for Wal-Mart and other stores in the U.S. We aspired to bring manufacturing back and create American jobs.
UL is a Chicago based product testing company and the owner of the UL Certification Mark . It has offices in 46 countries and sells its UL Mark services globally, collecting fees over a billion dollars each year from manufacturers worldwide.
In 2014, we contracted UL to certify the safety of our product and after nine months of testing and examination, UL issued a Certificate of Compliance and authorized the use of the UL Mark on our Sky Blue Butane product. We then sold our product in the U.S. to replace the imports from Asia.
A year later, UL, at the behest of the Asian manufacturers who were our main competitors, suddenly demanded us to stop shipping and to scrap our existing inventory. When we refused UL’s illegal demand and terminated our relationship with UL, UL became very vindictive.
Using its “special relationship with the Department of Homeland Security, UL asked the federal government to open a criminal investigation and raided our company for “Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods” and “Mail Fraud”, two crimes carrying a minimum sentence of 10 years. But the U.S. Attorney’s Office soon discovered UL’s lies and terminated the criminal case promptly.
When we sued UL for lying to the federal government and using the Department of Homeland Security as its private army to destroy American business and American jobs illegally, UL lied profusely in depositions under oath to cover up. Below are three examples of perjury committed by three key UL employees.
Perjury #1: Documents showed “Initial Product Inspection” was never completed
To open a federal criminal investigation against our company, UL used its “special relationship” with the Department of Homeland Security to lie about its prior interactions with our company and hide the fact that it had tested our product and issued a Certificate of Compliance before. When the federal authorities discovered UL’s lies and asked UL to clarify them, UL’s legal department got involved and invented a “whole new story” in order to cover up their original lies.
Directed by UL’s legal department, Mr. Aaron Aguilar, a former police officer who was the UL employee in charge of interacting with the federal government, sent an email to the federal agents stating that “AEP never received any authorization to apply a UL mark on their canisters. Multiple Variation Notices that were issued to AEP clearly noted that AEP had not completed the certification process with an Initial Product Inspection”. This was a new lie orchestrated by UL’s legal department to offer an alternative theory, namely, the lack of an IPI, to support UL’s false assertion that UL had never authorized the use of UL mark on our product.
After we sued UL, Mr. Aguilar was asked in a deposition under oath whether the phrase “Initial Product Inspection” had ever appeared in the documents he had sent to the federal agents. After going through each document, Mr. Aguilar grudgingly admitted that nowhere had the phrase “Initial Product Inspection” ever appeared. Caught with lying to the federal government, Mr. Aguilar perjured himself by insisting his email “intended to be communicated to Agent Lehmann of those interactions is accurate”.
Mr. Aguilar’s perjury was unavoidable. Had he admitted that he and UL’s legal department lied to the federal agents about the documents they had sent, they could face criminal liability. So Mr. Aguilar had to give false testimony to cover up what Mr. Aguilar had testified earlier, “you know, it could be a – potentially a criminal act.”
Perjury #2: Another manufacturer had specifically asked UL about our company and mentioned we were “very deceptive” in our business practices
To help an Asian Manufacturer drive our company out of business, Mr. Clint Ferguson, a UL Field Representative, told his manager at UL that “a different manufacturer” had “specifically” asked him about our company and told him that we “were very deceptive in business practices”. After “getting some information from another manufacturer”, he stopped by at our factory and demanded us to stop shipping our product in the U.S. immediately.
The “different manufacturer” and/or “another manufacturer” referred in Mr. Ferguson’s emails could only be Asian manufacturers because all UL certified manufacturers for butane fuel canisters were based in Asia except for us. The Asian manufacturers had been long time UL customers and paid much more license fees to UL than we did. As we competed with them and took away the U.S. market from them, it was not surprising that they would disparage us and try to sabotage our business. And UL’s helping its high fee paying Asian customers to destroy American business and American jobs was not only unethical, but probably illegal in the U.S.
When we sued UL, we asked Mr. Ferguson in a deposition under oath to identify the manufacturer who had “specifically” asked him about us and disparaged our company. Instead of telling the truth, Mr. Ferguson gave the name of a company that he did not even know “what all they supply” and had “never mentioned” our company to him. Although he claimed that “I don’t remember the details”, the UL online directory shows that the company Mr. Ferguson identified was neither a manufacturer nor in the business of filling butane canisters. It was clear that Mr. Ferguson was deliberately giving false testimony and perjuring himself under oath.
Ferguson’s perjury was obvious and egregious. By lying about the identity of the manufacturer who had “specifically” asked UL about our company, Mr. Ferguson was hiding the fact that UL had helped its high paying Asian customer to destroy an American business and American jobs illegally, using the Department of Homeland Security as its private army.
Perjury #3: UL Staff Engineer did not issue the Certificate of Compliance, nor did UL Staff Engineer know whether the product complied with the Standard before the Certificate was issued
In October 2014, UL issued a Certificate of Compliance to authorize the use of UL mark on our Sky Blue Butane product after nine months of testing and examination. Mr. Timothy Crews, a UL Staff Engineer who had worked for UL for 36 years, was in charge of UL’s testing and certification process and personally sent the original UL Certificate to us when it was issued.
In a deposition under oath after we sued UL for lying to the federal government, Mr. Crews suddenly developed serious amnesia and claimed he did not remember much of anything about testing and certifying our product. Worse yet, when confronted with the documentary evidence, he had to perjure himself to corroborate the two lies UL had told the federal government before.
In asking the Department of Homeland Security to raid our company and shut down our factory, UL lied repeatedly to the federal agents, asserting 1) “UL has no record of certifying products on behalf of” our company and 2) “the Sky Blue Butane fuel canister has not been evaluated by UL to the appropriate Standards for Safety”. These two lies are contradicted by the Certificate of Compliance UL had issued, the UL Laboratory Records Mr. Crews had kept, and the UL Report Mr. Crews had personally signed.
When we sued UL, Mr. Crews said in a deposition under oath that “I did not issue a certificate of compliance” and that he did not know “whether or not AEP’s products complied with this standard or not before the Certificate of Compliance was issued”. Mr. Crews’ statements not only contradicted his earlier statement that “AEP’s product complied with each of the standards set forth within UL-147B before UL issued a certificate of compliance to AEP”, but also the words in the UL Certificate that “Samples of SBB-211604 Nonrefillable type metal container assembly for butane have been investigated by UL in accordance with the Standard(s) indicated on this Certificate.” They were clearly false and intentional perjury.
But Mr. Crews’ perjury appeared very obvious, reluctant and illogical, a disappointment for UL’s legal department. As the key UL employee most directly related to certifying our product, UL needed him to lie boldly to corroborate the old lies UL had perpetrated against us to the federal government, no matter how tenuous or illogical it would seem. Unfortunately, Mr. Crews is not a person who can lie easily or is capable of lying with a straight face.
Compared with UL’s lying to the federal authorities, a potential criminal act, making false statements and changing testimony in depositions are only civil offenses. It is disheartening to see a highly respected engineer in a venerable company had to commit perjury to protect the company from criminal liability. If UL continues this practice, it will sink so low to become a corrupt and unethical company quickly.
See my next post Can UL Use the Department of Homeland Security As Its Private Army to Destroy American Business and American Jobs Illegally On Behalf of Its Asian Customers?
Note: If you would like to review the documents and verify the facts, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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