UNITED STATES v. SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH - Case No. 19-CR-193
Charges have been filed against SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH, in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with Case No. 19-CR-193. The charges are based on the defendants’ alleged knowing and willful failure to report information regarding consumer product safety defects, hazards, and risks. The indictment charging SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH is here.
A related case is United States v. GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES, INC. OF ZHUHAI, HONG KONG GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES SALES CO., LTD., and GREE USA, INC. (the Gree Company Defendants), in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California with Case No. 21-CR-498. GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES, INC. OF ZHUHAI, and HONG KONG GREE ELECTRIC APPLIANCES SALES CO., LTD., have resolved their criminal cases with the government through a deferred prosecution agreement or DPA. GREE USA, INC. has entered into a plea agreement with the government. The information charging the Gree Company Defendants is here, and the government webpage for potential victims of those charges is here.
SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH were charged with a multiple-object conspiracy to commit wire fraud, to fail to furnish information under the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA), and to defraud the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In addition to the conspiracy charge, the indictment also charges SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH with one count of wire fraud and one count of failure to furnish information under the CPSA.
According to the indictment, SIMON CHU was part owner and chief administrative officer of two corporations in City of Industry, California, that imported, distributed, and sold to retailers for consumer purchase dehumidifiers that were made in China. The indictment further alleges that CHARLEY LOH was part owner and chief executive officer of the same two corporations.
The CPSA requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of consumer products to report “immediately” to the CPSC information that reasonably supports the conclusion that a product contains a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or creates an unreasonable risk of serious injury or death. This duty also applies to the individual directors, officers, and agents of those companies. The indictment alleges that as early as September 2012, SIMON CHU, CHARLEY LOH, and their companies received multiple reports that their Chinese dehumidifiers were defective, dangerous, and could catch fire. They also allegedly knew that they were required to report this product safety information to the CPSC immediately. Despite their alleged knowledge of consumer complaints of dehumidifier fires and test results showing problems with the dehumidifiers, the indictment alleges that SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH failed to disclose their dehumidifiers’ defects, hazards and risks for at least six months while they continued to sell their dehumidifiers to retailers for resale to consumers.
The indictment further alleges that as part of their scheme, SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH deliberately withheld information about the defective and dangerous Chinese dehumidifiers from the retail companies that bought the dehumidifiers; the insurance companies that paid for damage caused by the fires resulting from the dehumidifiers; and the CPSC. SIMON CHU and CHARLEY LOH allegedly continued to sell the Chinese dehumidifiers to retailers with false certifications that the products met safety standards; caused a company employee to solicit materials that would falsely portray to an insurance company that the dehumidifiers were safe and not defective; and sent an untimely report to the CPSC that falsely stated that the dehumidifiers were not defective or hazardous. According to the indictment, SIMON CHU, CHARLEY LOH, and their companies allegedly continued to sell the defective and dangerous dehumidifiers through April 2013, and sought to avoid, reduce, and delay the costs of recalling the products.
An indictment merely alleges that crimes have been committed, and each defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Victim/Witness Unit at the United States Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California can send notifications that have a brief overview of this case, along with instructions on how to set up an account with the Victim Notification System (VNS). If any potential victim wants to receive case-related notifications, they should create a VNS account. For any victim-related inquiries, please email Mark Villasenor at email@example.com.
The government will send notifications related to this case to everyone receiving notifications for the related case involving the Gree Company Defendants.
The Court denied SIMON CHU’s and CHARLEY LOH’s motion for foreign depositions on January 30, 2023. The Court has also re-scheduled the pretrial conference for October 23, 2023, at 8:30 a.m. This hearing will be held in Courtroom 7D of the Honorable Judge Dale S. Fischer, United States Courthouse, 350 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012. The trial for this case has been re-scheduled to begin on November 7, 2023, at 8:30 a.m..
On January 23, 2023, GREE USA, INC. pled guilty to a one-count information charging it with Failure to Furnish Information Required by 15 U.S.C. § 2064(b), in violation of 15 U.S.C. §§ 2068(a)(4) and 2070. The Court has scheduled a sentencing hearing for GREE USA, INC. on March 20, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. This hearing will be held in Courtroom 7D of the Honorable Judge Dale S. Fischer, United States Courthouse, 350 W. 1st Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
On April 24, 2023 Gree USA, Inc was sentenced by the Honorable Judge Dale S. Fischer. Gree USA was ordered to pay a fine in the amount of $500,000.00 in addition to paying restitution
June 7, 2023 - Special Master, BrownGreer, has established an e-mail address to which anyone who may have been affected by a defective Gree dehumidifier can direct questions relating to filing a claim for restitution. Please contact Special Master BrownGreer at SpecialMaster@GreeDehumidifierRestitutionProgram.com for further guidance.
On August 22, 2023, the Claim Form for the restitution process became available on www.GreeDehumidifierRestitutionProgram.com
For those who do not have access to a computer or ability to download supporting documentation, please contact the Special Master via e-mail at www.GreeDehumidifierRestitutionProgram.com or mail a written request to Gree Dehumidifier Restitution Program, P.O. Box 25961, Richmond, VA 23260 and request that a hard copy of the Restitution Claim Form be mailed to you.
Please note, the deadline for filing a Restitution Claim Form is February 20, 2024.
For questions related to the Restitution Claim Form or the filing of a claim, please contact the Special Master at www.GreeDehumidifierRestitutionProgram.com.
Information on any upcoming court hearings or other significant developments in this case will be posted here on this webpage.
Please be aware that victims of all crimes under federal investigation are entitled to services under the Victims’ Rights and Restitution Act, including notification of court events. For further details please refer to Title 42 United States Code section 10607 or the brochure posted at, https://www.notify.usdoj.gov. Any victims of the charges in this case are, in addition, entitled to the following rights according to the Crime Victims’ Rights Act, Title 18 United States Code section 3771:
- The right to be reasonably protected from the accused;
- The right to reasonable, accurate, and timely notice of any public court proceeding, or any parole proceeding, involving the crime or of any release or escape of the accused;
- The right not to be excluded from any such public court proceeding, unless the court, after receiving clear and convincing evidence, determines testimony by the victim would be materially altered if the victim heard other testimony at that proceeding;
- The right to be reasonably heard at any public proceeding in the district court involving release, plea, sentencing, or any parole proceeding;
- The reasonable right to confer with the attorney for the Government in the case;
- The right to full and timely restitution as provided in law;
- The right to proceedings free from unreasonable delay; and
- The right to be treated with fairness and with respect for the victim’s dignity and privacy
Please understand that these rights apply only to victims of the counts charged in federal court, and thus you may not be able to exercise all of these rights if the crime of which you are a victim was not charged. It is also important to keep in mind that the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty and that presumption requires both the Court and our office to take certain steps to ensure that justice is served. While the government’s attorneys cannot act as your attorney, or provide you with legal advice, you can seek the advice of an attorney with respect to the rights above or other related legal matters.
Additionally, please be aware that most criminal cases are resolved by a plea agreement between the government and the defendant. If you want to inform the prosecutor of your views regarding potential plea agreements, or any other aspect of the case, you can contact the Consumer Protection Branch at the Department of Justice via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (please include Case No. 19-CR-193 in the subject line) or by mail at Consumer Protection Branch, U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, DC 20530-0001.
It is helpful for the Court to know the impact of this crime on any victims. If you believe you are a victim in this case and would like to provide a written statement regarding your experience, please forward it to:
Consumer Protection Branch
Case No. 19-CR-193
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, DC 20530-0001.
You can also email your statement to email@example.com. If you believe you are a victim in this case and that you experienced a related financial loss subject to restitution, you may include that information in your statement, along with a copy of any supporting documentation and whether you previously have been compensated for any such loss. You may also be able to receive restitution in the related case involving the Gree Company Defendants.