Apple products are usually in high demand and are very popular among consumers all over the globe. As such, due to its popularity many sophisticated electronics manufacturing plants often produce fake goods and sell them as legitimate Apple products in the market. While selling such products is illegal, a 43-year-old Chinese national who lived in the U.S. has been found guilty for taking part in a counterfeiting operation out of China that involved selling fake iPhones and iPads to customers in the country.
"Jianhua 'Jeff' Li, pleaded guilty before US District Court Judge Kevin McNulty of New Jersey to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and labels and to smuggle goods into the US, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods," the US Department of Justice said in a statement.
The case had been ongoing since 2015 when Li was charged and taken into custody. From July 2009-February 2014, the Chinese national, working through his company "Dream Digitals", conspired with Andreina Becerra, Roberto Volpe, Rosario LaMarca and others to smuggle and traffic into the US from China more than 40,000 electronic devices and accessories.
The smuggled devices included Apple iPads and iPhones, along with labels and packaging bearing counterfeit Apple trademarks, according to the documents filed in this case. He shipped devices separately from the labels bearing counterfeit trademarks for later assembly to avoid detection by US Customs and Border Protection officials, the documents filed in the case added. The counterfeit devices were then shipped by the conspirators all over the country.
The operation according to reports was quite big and Li personally had received about $1.1 million in sales revenues from U.S. customers. But again nothing has been revealed exactly as to how much Li himself, his family in China, or his partners in the scheme profited from the counterfeiting operation.
Details about the operation whether it had ties to large-scale counterfeiting manufacturing operations in China or how big it actually was is yet to be disclosed. Meanwhile according to the DOJ, accounts for Li's scheme were kept in Florida and New Jersey, where proceeds were first deposited before being transferred to Italy and then onward to other sources around the globe to basically make their origin untraceable.
While the trial is still ongoing, Li will be sentenced on May 30 while LaMarca, another member of the conspiracy, was the first to be sentenced in July 2017, receiving a prison term of 37 months. Both Becerra and Volpe, Li's other conspirators, are still awaiting sentence.
Inputs from IANS