Man pleads guilty to distributing over 40,000 counterfeit Apple products

apple counterfeit ring iphone 8 update keyboard front 800x533 c2
PThe United States Department of Justice has announced that Jianhua “Jeff” Li, a 43-year-old Chinese national living in the United States on a student visa, has pleaded guilty to being part of a counterfeit ring involving fake Apple products.

The case is part of a joint operation between the Department of Homeland Security and the Justice Department. The investigation has been ongoing since 2015, when Li was first arrested.

Starting in 2009, Li and his compatriots, Andreina Becerra, Roberto Volpe, and Rosario LaMarca, helped smuggle more than 40,000 counterfeit products, including fake iPhones and iPads into the U.S. In addition, the smuggling operation also included forged documents pertaining to Apple logos and trademarks. Li is estimated to have earned about $1.1 million from the sales of the fake products to customers who thought they were purchasing legitimate Apple hardware.

The Verge reports that the bank accounts relating to Li’s operation were based out of New Jersey and Florida. From there, Li would transfer the money to an account Italy. Then it would be sent to multiple accounts across the globe as a way of protecting the smuggling operation.

The size of the operation remains difficult to estimate. While it is known that Li received more than $1 million in revenue from the illicit sales, it is not certain how much his associates earned. Nor how much, if any, of the money went to Li’s family in China. Investigators are currently trying to determine whether or not this operation had any ties to the large-scale counterfeit rings that operate in China. The high demand and high price of Apple’s products means that they are a profitable market for Chinese counterfeiters.

Li was charged with, and pleaded guilty, to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and labels and to smuggle goods into the U.S., and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Li’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for May. However, LaMarca was sentenced last July to 37 months in prison. The other members of the smuggling operation are still awaiting sentencing.

Given Li’s status as a Chinese citizen, it is possible that he will be deported upon the completion of his sentence.

Home Theater

Vizio is still rocking the Black Friday spirit with these TV and soundbar deals

If you missed out on all the great TV deals this past Black Friday and Cyber Monday, don't worry, Vizio has you covered. The company has some great discounts on its most popular 4K TVs and sounbar systems. But don't delay -- some of these…
Mobile

5G’s arrival is transforming tech. Here’s everything you need to know to keep up

It has been years in the making, but 5G is finally becoming a reality. While 5G coverage is still extremely limited, expect to see it expand in 2019. Not sure what 5G even is? Here's everything you need to know.
Business

Chinese court upholds Qualcomm's complaint that Apple infringed on two patents

Apple is following the FTC's lead and has sued Qualcomm for a massive $1 billion in the U.S., $145 million in China, and also in the U.K., claiming the company charged onerous royalties for its patented tech.
Emerging Tech

New experiment casts doubt on claims to have identified dark matter

A South Korean experiment called COSINE-100 has attempted to replicate the claims of dark matter observed by the Italian DAMA/LIBRA experiment, but has failed to replicate the observations.
Mobile

Apple is spending $1 billion to hire up to 15,000 new employees in Austin

Apple has announced a series of expansions across the U.S. -- including a massive expansion to the company's Austin campus that will see it spending $1 billion to accommodate for up to 15,000 new employees.
Outdoors

Google Maps makes it easier than ever to find a Lime bike or scooter

Google Maps has added a new feature that helps you find a Lime bike or scooter in just a few taps. The feature currently works in 11 U.S. cities served by Lime, with more coming next year.
Mobile

Leave the laptop at home, the iPad Pro is the travel buddy to take on vacay

The iPad Pro is a powerful tablet that's perfect for creatives and professionals. How does it fare when traveling with it as a laptop replacement? We took it on a two week trek in Japan to find out.
Mobile

Quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed

Looking for a few accoutrements to make your smartphone even better? If you, or someone you know, is a sucker for accessories, you'll want to check out our collection of quirky smartphone accessories you never knew you needed.
Mobile

Ditch your smartphone for a year and win $100k from Vitaminwater

Vitaminwater is willing to part with $100,000 if you're willing to part with your smartphone partner for a year. Could you last for a year armed with only a 1996-era phone? Here's your chance to find out.
Music

Here's our head-to-head comparison of Pandora and Spotify

Which music streaming platform is best for you? We pit Spotify versus Pandora, two mighty streaming services with on-demand music and massive catalogs, comparing every facet of the two services to help you decide which is best.
Deals

Walmart drops prices on Apple Watches and other fitness trackers

Smartwatches, fitness trackers, and wearable heart rate monitors from Apple, Samsung, Fitbit, and Garmin are popular gifts. Wearables are smarter and more capable than in earlier years. We found the best wearables deals on Walmart.
Wearables

The best Wear OS watches

There are a ton of different Wear OS watches out there, but which one's right for you? No matter what you're looking for from a smartwatch, here are the best Wear OS watches out there.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Home Theater

How to master your equalizer settings for the perfect sound

You may know what an EQ is, but do you know how to adjust equalizer settings for the best possible sound? We go through the basics of the modern EQ and lay out some guidelines for how to achieve tip-top sound from your system.