Fifteen-Month Prison Sentence for Trafficking in Counterfeit Computer Chips
The Department of Justice announced July 8 that a Chinese citizen has been sentenced to 15 months in prison for his participation in a conspiracy to sell counterfeits of sophisticated integrated circuits to a purchaser in the United States. As part of his sentence, the man was also ordered to forfeit $63,000.
According to a DOJ press release, this man and his two co-conspirators each operated businesses in China that bought and sold electronic components, including integrated circuits. In the summer of 2015, the two co-conspirators conspired to locate and purchase several advanced ICs with military applications, including radiation tolerance for uses in space. They asked a U.S. individual to locate and sell the ICs to them, and when the U.S. individual explained that the ICs could not be shipped outside the U.S. without an export license they proposed a scheme to replace the genuine ICs that would need to be stolen from military inventory with “fake” ICs made to “look the same.”
In November 2015, the Chinese citizen shipped from China to the U.S. individual two packages containing a total of eight counterfeit ICs, each bearing a counterfeit brand label. The man and his two co-conspirators flew to the U.S. in December 2015 with the intention of making payment and taking custody of the stolen ICs, but federal agents arrested the men at the arranged meeting location.
The Chinese citizen and one of his co-conspirators pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, while the other co-conspirator pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and one count of attempt to export ICs without the required export license. The two co-conspirators are still awaiting sentencing.