A 43-year-old Chinese national who lived in the US has pleaded guilty to 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 late on Friday.
Li also received payments worth over $1.1 million in sales proceeds from US accounts into his bank accounts. The case has 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 to conspirators all over the country. 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.