Fake Apple scheme busted: Chinese man gets 3 years in prison for smuggling millions in counterfeit goods

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

A man living in the U.S. on a student visa from China who earned more than $1.1 million selling fake Apple products was sentenced to three years in prison for his illegal business.

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According to a Department of Justice announcement, 44-year-old Jianhua “Jeff” Li pled guilty to accusations he conspired and trafficked counterfeit goods to sell through his company Dream Digitals.

Between July 2009 and February 2014, Li worked with at least three other people to smuggle in more than 40,000 fake iPads, iPhones and other accessories – complete with labels and packaging bearing Apple’s signature trademarks.

Court documents show Li would purposefully ship devices to the states without labels to avoid detection by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Once the hardware made it to the U.S., he then shipped them to “conspirators all over” the states.

Payments were sent to accounts in Florida and New Jersey before being transferred to overseas accounts.

After serving his prison term, Li will also be looking at a year of supervised release.