Fake iPhone, iPad smuggler lands behind bars

Over 40,000 dodgy devices and accessories were smuggled into the United States.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

A man has been sentenced to roughly three years in prison for smuggling fake Apple goods from China to the United States.

On Wednesday, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) said that Jianhua "Jeff" Li, a 44-year-old living in the US on a student visa, worked with co-conspirators to transport at least 40,000 counterfeit electronic goods

According to court documents, Li, together with Andreina Becerra, Roberto Volpe, Rosario LaMarca, and other conspirators, was involved in the trafficking of fake devices and accessories, including iPhones and iPads. 

The electronic devices were labeled and packaged to appear legitimate and were smuggled through a company called Dream Digitals. 

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In order to avoid arousing the suspicion of US customs officials, the smugglers shipped devices separately across the country and payments were filtered through bank accounts in Florida and New Jersey. Some of the proceeds were also sent via wire transfer to Italy.

US prosecutors say that over $1.1 million generated through the counterfeit goods was shifted from US accounts to bank accounts owned by Li overseas. 

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The Chinese national previously pleaded 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 in a court located in the District of New Jersey. A judge in Newark imposed the 37-month sentence on Wednesday, together with one year of supervised release. 

The co-conspirators have all also pleaded guilty. LaMarca, too, will serve 37 months, whilst Becerra will serve three years' probation and Volpe will spend 22 months in prison. 

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The case was investigated by Europol, the HSI Newark Seaport Investigations Group, Bergen County Prosecutor's Financial Crimes Unit, HSI Attaché Rome, and Guardia di Finanza. 

In related news this month, the DoJ arrested and charged a man believed to be responsible for sales of controlled drugs on the Dark Web. Richard Castro, also known as "Chemsusa," was also ordered to hand over $4 million in cryptocurrency generated by the illegal sales of synthetic opioids including carfentanil and fentanyl.

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