LOS ANGELES – Chinese national who participated in a multi-million dollar program to manufacture, ship and market counterfeit laptop batteries and other electronics made in China was today sentenced to 60 months in federal prison .
Zoulin “Allen” Cai, 30, of La Puente, was convicted this morning by US District Judge John F. Walter, who also ordered the defendant to pay $ 9,227,543 in restitution and a fine of $ 25,000. .
Cai pleaded guilty on June 29 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft.
Cai was a member of a conspiracy that imported batteries, labels for batteries for laptops, cellphones and other electronic devices from China to the United States. Cai then sold and shipped the counterfeit batteries to unsuspecting buyers through eBay and Amazon, falsely advertising them as branded, genuine, original, or OEM (original equipment manufacturer) products. These batteries bore counterfeit marks from companies such as Apple, Dell, HP and Toshiba, as well as counterfeit certification marks from UL, a company that tests and certifies the safety of electronic products.
“Counterfeit lithium-ion batteries pose significant safety risks,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum filed with the court. “The batteries… distributed by [Cai] often lacked internal safeguards, which posed a significant risk of fire, explosion and danger to human life and safety.
Co-conspirators in China packed counterfeit batteries and electronics and shipped them to the United States, sometimes covering the marks with black tape or similar material, so that officers could quickly inspect the items. customs does not reveal the mark. The counterfeit batteries were imported, sold and shipped from warehouses controlled by Cai in La Puente.
When federal authorities executed a search warrant at Cai’s warehouse in December 2019, they discovered around 44,000 batteries, as well as around 175,000 labels bearing the counterfeit marks of several companies.
Judge Walter today concluded that the loss resulting from Cai’s conduct was over $ 9.5 million.
Homeland Security Investigations investigated this matter and was assisted in this investigation by the companies that own the brand.
US Deputy Prosecutors Khaldoun Shobaki of the Cybercrime and Intellectual Property Crime Section and Julia S. Choe of the General Crime Section continued this case.