Chinese National Sentenced for Trafficking Counterfeit Apple Products

The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) arrested a Chinese national living in the U.S. on a student visa for his role in trafficking counterfeit Apple products from China to the U.S. These products included phony iPhones and iPads.

Jianhua “Jeff” Li pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and labels and smuggle goods into the United States and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

From July 2009 through February 2014, Li conspired with Andreina Becerra, Roberto Volpe, Rosario LaMarca, and others to smuggle and traffic more than 40,000 electronic devices and accessories from China to the U.S. These packages included counterfeit Apple labels and packaging.

As the DOJ release explains, Li shipped devices separately from labels to avoid detection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Devices were shipped to conspirators throughout the country through Li’s company, Dream Digital.

Proceeds were then funneled back to conspirator accounts in Florida and New Jersey via cash deposits. Portions of the proceeds were also transferred to Italy to further disguise the funds’ source.

Over $1.1 million in sales proceeds were wired from U.S. accounts into accounts Li controlled overseas.

LaMarca, Becerra, and Volpe previously pleaded guilty to their respective roles in the scheme.  LaMarca was sentenced July 21, 2017 to serve 37 months in prison. Becerra and Volpe were sentenced Oct. 15, 2018 to serve three years’ probation and 22 months in prison, respectively.

Li was sentenced to 37 months in prison followed by one year of supervised release this week.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Newark Seaport Investigations Group and the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Financial Crimes Unit investigated the case with significant assistance from HSI Attaché Rome, Europol, and Italy’s Guardia di Finanza.

Posted in The Takedown

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