Counterfeit iPhone trafficker sentenced to 3 years in prison

Posted:
in iPhone edited July 30
The U.S. Department of Justice has sentenced a Chinese national to over three years in prison for trafficking counterfeit Apple goods into the United States from China, including fake iPhones and iPads, as part of a criminal conspiracy that made over $1.1 million in the United States alone.

Counterfeit Apple products seized by Maryland police as part of a separate case in 2013.
Counterfeit Apple products seized by Maryland police as part of a separate case in 2013.


Jinhau "Jeff" Li, a 44-year-old who stayed in the US on a student visa, pleaded guilty in February 2018, but has only just been sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by a year of supervised release. Li had previously admitted guilt to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and labels and to smuggle goods into the United States, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

According to US DOJ documents Li worked through his company Dream Digitals with Andreina Becerra, Roberto Volpe, Rosario LaMarca, and others to smuggle more than 40,000 electronic devices and accessories. The items included fake iPhones and iPads, as well as labels and packaging bearing counterfeit Apple trademarks.

Li shipped the devices separately from the labels and packaging to avoid detection by US Customs and Border Protection officials, with devices shipped to conspirators around the country. Funds were then transferred to conspirator accounts in Florida and New Jersey via structured cash deposits, with a portion then transferred to conspirators in Italy to further disguise the source of funds.

LaMarca, Becerra, and Volpe have previously pleaded guilty for their roles, with LaMarca serving 37 months in prison, Volpe in prison for 22 months, and Becerra handed three years of probation.

It took the cross-jurisdictional collaboration of the HSI Newark Seaport Investigations Group and the Bergen County Prosecutor's Financial Crimes Unit, along with help from Europol and Italy's Guardia di Finanza, to successfully uncover the crime.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Sorry, way too light. Balance of probability, this won't deter others from trying this. 
    macseekerjahbladeSpamSandwichwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,150moderator
    doctwelve said:
    Sorry, way too light. Balance of probability, this won't deter others from trying this. 
    Agree. $1.1m of fraudulent product, plus the cost in trust lost among all the victims plus all the cost associated with the investigation and prosecutions, you’d think the penalty for inflicting that amount of cost and resource consumption would need to be higher to deter others from inflicting the same costs on society in a greedy attempt to personally gain.  
    doctwelvewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,453member
    doctwelve said:
    Sorry, way too light. Balance of probability, this won't deter others from trying this. 
    Yes, it should have included ordering he can only ever use Android for Life.
    doctwelvewatto_cobrabeowulfschmidt
  • Reply 4 of 9
    Technical legal comment: the Department of Justice does not sentence criminals (that is done by the Court). The Department of Justice can advocate for a specific sentence and monetary penalty in accordance with the sentencing guidelines. However, the Court decides which sentence and penalty to impose (in accordance with the sentencing guidelines). 
    ronnwatto_cobrabeowulfschmidtDAalseth
  • Reply 5 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,499member
    Should include a demand to China to break up the counterfeiting operation overseas! What good is it to sentence a courier when the factory continues to crank out fakes?
    doctwelvewatto_cobraBart Y
  • Reply 6 of 9
    sgordonsgordon Posts: 32member
    Ok so when we say counterfeit what exactLy do we mean ? do we mean devices that look the same but don’t run iOS ? So we mean devices that look the same and do run iOS ? Do we mean devices made outside the normal apple process but using parts made for apple or by the same people that make parts for apple ?
    watto_cobrasvanstromBart Y
  • Reply 7 of 9
    DAalsethDAalseth Posts: 764member
    doctwelve said:
    Sorry, way too light. Balance of probability, this won't deter others from trying this. 
    Agreed. He made $1.1 mil for about five years work, including the jail time. Even in the US that's not a bad salary. In China that's more than well worth it. I can see others lining up to join the scheme.
  • Reply 8 of 9
    MplsPMplsP Posts: 1,728member
    Meanwhile, in unrelated news, Mr. Li was given a medal by the chinese government...
  • Reply 9 of 9
    Bart YBart Y Posts: 13unconfirmed, member
    sgordon said:
    Ok so when we say counterfeit what exactLy do we mean ? do we mean devices that look the same but don’t run iOS ? So we mean devices that look the same and do run iOS ? Do we mean devices made outside the normal apple process but using parts made for apple or by the same people that make parts for apple ?
    All of the above. Anything that purports itself being Apple designed, Apple made or Apple Branded, but isn't on any or all counts. Should also count for not being sold through official Apple sales channels. Even parts that are bogus or sold as Genuine Apple parts should/would count.
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