The three imported more than 10,000 counterfeit iPhones and iPads from China, intentionally damaged them, and had co-conspirators exchange them at Apple Stores in more than 40 states throughout the United States and Canada, according to the indictment.
One of the interesting facts about this case, is that according to the indictment, the counterfeit iPhones and iPads had International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) numbers (for the iPhones), as well as serial numbers that matched IMEI and serial numbers of real, genuine phones purchased and used by customers and covered under Apple warranty in the US and Canada. The three are all naturalized US citizens born in China. Prosecutors allege that once the defendants got their hands on genuine goods, those items were sent to China and other countries to sell for profit.
Busted: The United States Department of Justice has indicted 17 people involved in a massive counterfeiting scheme. "The manufacture of counterfeit goods - and their use to defraud USA companies - seeks to fundamentally undermine the marketplace and harms innocent people whose identities were stolen in furtherance of these activities".
Zhiwei Liao, 31, owned two cellphone fix businesses in San Diego, and headed up the illegal operation with his brothers, Zhimin Liao, 33, and Zhiting Liao, 30, according to the indictment.
The 76-count felony indictment charges 14 people with various crimes - from fraud and conspiracy to money laundering and identity theft.
"The manufacture of counterfeit goods-and their use to defraud U.S. companies-seeks to fundamentally undermine the marketplace and harms innocent people whose identities were stolen in furtherance of these activities", said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer in the press release.
It also noted that the alleged ringleaders, three brothers, were arrested with their wives.
AWS challenging Microsoft's $10bn Pentagon Cloud contract win
Amazon has filed an intention to appeal the US Department of Defense's decision to give a major contract to Microsoft . The newspaper is among USA media outlets most critical in its coverage of Trump and his administration.
Pakistan will organize first test match since 2009 Sri Lanka bus attack
The position was left vacant with Sri Lanka Cricket not renewing the contract of Asanka Gurusinha when it ended in August. Former fast bowler Rumesh Ratnayake now holds the interim coach role and he is set to be replaced by Mickey Arthur .
Flames D Brodie out of hospital after collapse at practice
Brodie was rushed to hospital on Thursday after having "an episode on ice" during practice. Brodie was taken to the hospital after collapsing on the ice during Thursday's practice.
The Feds raided two businesses and several homes in Mira Mesa and Mission Hills, California, seizing $250,000 in cash as well as 90 iPhones, which are being analyzed for fake parts.
The FBI was continuing to search for another believed to be in San Diego, Chia "Charley" Ming, and one believed to be in San Francisco, Hyo "Will" Weon Yang.
If convicted, the brothers will have to surrender all proceeds, and the five buildings the family owns in San Diego.
It may well be that during the course of the scheme, a counterfeit iPhone or iPad may have been replaced under warranty using the serial number or IMEI of real Apple customers totally unbeknown to the situation.
A pair of OR college students were charged with a similar scheme in April, with authorities saying they cleared $900,000 by importing the counterfeit iPhones from China and then returning them for cash. As part of the scheme, the prosthetic device is equipped with IMEI and serial numbers matching those of real devices is covered by the warranty Apple in the U.S. or Canada, according to the release "The manufacture of counterfeit goods -".
One co-conspirator, Charley Hsu, even allegedly sent a text message to Zhiwei on September 12, 2015 saying the counterfeit phones "look so fake".