Home Organization Leaders of international organization that trafficked in counterfeit Apple products plead guilty | USAO-SDCA

Leaders of international organization that trafficked in counterfeit Apple products plead guilty | USAO-SDCA

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Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy F. Salel (619) 546-8055

SUMMARY OF PRESS RELEASE – June 3, 2022

SAN DIEGO — Three San Diego brothers pleaded guilty in federal court yesterday, admitting that for eight years they led an international conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit iPhones and iPads.

As part of their plea deals, the Liao brothers – Zhiwei, Zhimin and Zhiting – and their wives – Dao La, Mengmeng Zhang and Tam Nguyen, who also pleaded guilty yesterday – have agreed to give up their interests in five residences in San Diego, plus over $250,000 in proceeds of crime and over 200 Apple iPhones that were counterfeit, fraudulently obtained, or linked to their criminal conspiracy.

The Liaos admitted that from 2011 until at least August 2019, they ran an organization to traffic counterfeit Apple products. The Liaos imported counterfeit iPhones and iPads from China that appeared genuine and had ID numbers that matched the ID numbers of real iPhones and iPads that were under warranty and had already been sold to customers in the United States and in Canada.

Under the leadership of the Liao brothers, the co-conspirators visited hundreds of Apple Stores across the United States and Canada and attempted to exchange more than 10,000 counterfeit iPhones and iPads for genuine iPhones and iPads. . The Liaos exported fraudulently obtained iPhones and iPads to individuals in foreign countries for profit. The estimated total amount of infringement or loss suffered by Apple was approximately $6.1 million.

“As our markets become more global, more complex and more sophisticated, the protection of intellectual property rights becomes even more important,” said US Attorney Randy S. Grossman. “Our office will aggressively pursue criminals who attempt to steal intellectual property and attempt to exchange counterfeit products for genuine products. We will continue to fight intellectual property crime and uphold the rule of law Grossman thanked the prosecution team and the FBI for their excellent work on this case.

“For years, the Liao brothers and their co-conspirators traded thousands of counterfeit Apple products in exchange for genuine Apple products totaling millions of dollars,” said FBI Special Agent in Charge Stacey Moy. “The FBI and our law enforcement partners at the San Diego Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff‘s Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Homeland Security Investigations, and the US Attorney’s Office will prosecute criminal organizations that target legitimate businesses through fraudulent means for their own financial gain.

The Liao brothers and their wives are scheduled to appear for sentencing before U.S. District Judge Cynthia A. Bashant on August 15, 2022 at 9:00 a.m.

DEFENDANTS Case number 19CR4407-BAS

Zhiwei Liao aka “Allen” San Diego, CA Age: 34

Zhimin Liao aka “Jimmy” San Diego, CA Age: 36

Zhiting Liao aka “Tim” San Diego, CA Age: 33

Dao Trieu La, aka “Selena”

aka “Denise” San Diego, CA Age: 32

Mengmeng Zhang aka “Aria” San Diego, CA Age: 31

Tam Thi Minh Nguyen, aka “Kelly”,

aka “Actheart” San Diego, CA Age: 39

CO-CONSPIRATORS WHO PREVIOUSLY PLEADED GUILTY

Charley Hsu San Diego, CA Age: 41

Danny Tran Chan,

aka “Stanley” San Diego, CA Age: 32

Phillip Pak aka “Teddy” San Diego, CA Age: 33

Deedee Zhu, aka “David”,

aka “Peter” San Diego, CA Age: 35

Jiaye Jiang, aka “joejoekong”

aka “yipkong” San Diego, CA Age: 34

Hyo Yang aka “Will” San Diego, CA Age: 33

FEES SUMMARY

The Liao brothers (Zhiwei, Zhimin and Zhiting) all pleaded guilty to conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods. The Liao’s wives pleaded guilty to counts of wire fraud or mail fraud. Dao Trieu La pleaded guilty to wire fraud. Mengmeng Zhang and Tam Nguyen pleaded guilty to mail fraud.

Conspiracy to Traffic in Counterfeit Goods – Title 18, USC, Section 2320

Maximum penalty: ten years in prison, a $2 million fine, mandatory restitution and forfeiture.

Electronic Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1343

Maximum penalty: twenty years in prison, the greater of $250,000, or twice the value of the gross gain or twice the gross loss for the victims, mandatory restitution and forfeiture.

Mail Fraud – Title 18, USC, Section 1341

Maximum penalty: twenty years in prison, the greater of $250,000, or twice the value of the gross gain or twice the gross loss for the victims, mandatory restitution and forfeiture.

AGENCIES

Federal Bureau of Investigation

San Diego Police Department

San Diego Sheriffs

US Customs and Border Protection

Homeland Security Investigations