Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai, a Chinese appliance manufacturer, and its subsidiaries agreed to pay $91 million to settle the criminal charges alleging that it failed to report that millions of its dehumidifiers sold to U.S. Consumers were defective and could catch fire.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Gree Electric and Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd. (Gree Hong Kong) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) in connection with the criminal charges.
Under the DPA, in addition to the $91 million monetary penalties, Gree Electric and Gree Hong Kong also agreed to provide restitution for any uncompensated victims of fires caused by its defective dehumidifiers.
The Chinese appliance manufacturer’s subsidiary in the United States, Gree USA Inc. pleaded guilty to the felony charge that it willfully failed to report to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) about the dangerous dehumidifiers.
Gree Electric and its subsidiaries intentionally delayed reporting and recalling the dangerous dehumidifiers to reduce a significant and negative impact on the product’s sales, the DOJ noted in the plea agreement.