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Six plead guilty in counterfeit Apple product trafficking conspiracy

apple iphone file
Posted at 5:56 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 20:56:06-04

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - Three brothers from San Diego and their wives pleaded guilty to federal charges for running a scheme to traffic fraudulently obtained iPhones and iPads, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Friday.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, the defendants imported counterfeit iPhones and iPads from China and exchanged the fake items at "hundreds" of Apple stores in the United States and Canada. Prosecutors say the defendants attempted to exchange more than 10,000 of these counterfeit products at stores during the scheme, which operated for around eight years.

The genuine products they received in return were then exported to people in foreign countries, resulting in a total loss of around $6.1 million for Apple.

As part of their plea agreements, the defendants agreed to forfeit their interests in five San Diego residences, more than $250,000 in criminal proceeds, and more than 200 Apple iPhones.

The brothers, Zhiwei, Zhimin and Zhiting Liao, pleaded guilty Thursday along with their wives, Dao Trieu La, Mengmeng Zhang, and Tam Thi Minh Nguyen.

Six other co-conspirators previously pleaded guilty, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.