October 23, 2021

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California man guilty of smuggling millions of dollars in fake iPhone parts

What you need to know

  • A Californian man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after admitting to smuggling millions of dollars in fake iPhone parts into the United States.
  • Chan Hung Le, 46, of Laguna Hills will have to pay a $250,000 fine as part of his punishment.

The fake parts were shipped en-masse from China.

A California man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison after he admitted to smuggling millions of dollars in fake iPhone parts into the United States. He was also ordered to pay a $250,000 fine as part of the verdict.

Chan Hung Le, 46, of Laguna Hills was sentenced by District Judge Josephine L. Staton after he admitted to being part of a team that brought counterfeit iPhone parts into the country before selling them online. The whole thing started in 2011 and ran for nine years before Le pleaded guilty.

From late 2011 to February 2015, Le conspired with other individuals to import from China cell phone parts and other electronic items bearing counterfeit marks. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Le set up and used mailboxes with virtual office service providers in Oklahoma and Texas using a fictitious business name, JV Trading Solutions. In furtherance of the conspiracy, Le also used the name and identity documents of one of his employees to set up the virtual offices and directed other conspirators to ship trademarked goods under Le’s employees’ or relatives’ names. Once the counterfeit products arrived, Le and his co-conspirators distributed the parts to the public through various online stores.

Le’s fate was sealed when one of his suppliers outed him, admitting to selling him $18,744,354 worth phone of parts. The supplier was sentenced to three years in federal prison for their part in the scheme.

While some of the parts brought in from China appear to have been legitimate Apple hardware, others were fake despite the Apple logo they carried. Fake parts can be dangerous for various reasons, especially when batteries are involved.

All of this comes as Apple gets ready to announce its next big thing — iPhone 13 is expected to be announced this coming September. Don’t want to wait until then for a new handset? These are the best iPhone deals we’ve come across of late.