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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Southern District of California

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, September 5, 2019

Las Vegas Businessman Admits Trafficking More than $1 Million in Counterfeit Electronics

Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas W. Pilchak (619) 546-9709

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – September 5, 2019

SAN DIEGO – A Las Vegas business owner admitted today to running a years-long conspiracy to import counterfeit electronics from China into the United States. 

During a hearing this morning before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major, Saad Ahmed pleaded guilty to Conspiracy to Traffic in Counterfeit Goods. 

Ahmed, 32, owns and operates PhonePartsUSA, a Las Vegas, Nevada-based company that sells cellular telephone parts and other electronics throughout the United States—including to customers in San Diego.  As part of his plea agreement, Ahmed acknowledged conspiring with a variety of individuals in China to bring counterfeit cell phone parts and accessories from China to the United States.  The conspiracy stretched back to at least September 2012, according to court documents.

PhonePartsUSA trafficked $1,499,999 worth of counterfeit goods during this period, per Ahmed’s plea agreement.  The phony merchandise bore trademarks from Samsung, Apple and the electronic quality certification company UL, but were actually inauthentic copies.  The charges against Ahmed also allege that he grossly undervalued his international imports to deflect U.S. Customs’ attention from his shipments. 

Ahmed agreed to pay restitution to the three trademark holders in an amount totaling $269,681, which constituted the net proceeds received by Ahmed’s business from trafficking in the counterfeit merchandise.  Ahmed also agreed not to contest the forfeiture of 4,453 cell phone parts and accessories seized from PhonePartsUSA as part of a search by Homeland Security Investigations last summer.  

“Counterfeit goods confuse and deceive the public, damage legitimate manufacturers, and can even pose a serious risk to consumers’ safety,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.  “This office and our agency partners will aggressively prosecute who seeks to make a quick illegal profit at the public’s expense.”

 “Trafficking counterfeit merchandise hurts legitimate businesses and poses a significant public safety risk as these individuals prey on unsuspecting consumers who believe they are getting name brand products at a reduced price,” said Francisco Burrola, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (Nevada), U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “HSI Nevada agents are committed to conducting intellectual property theft investigations that not only protect the companies who have trademarked licensed products, but also the consumers who believe they are buying authentic and/or safe products.”

Ahmed is scheduled to be sentenced on December 9, 2019, before U.S. District Judge Thomas Whelan.

DEFENDANT                       Case Number 19-cr-3401-W

Saad Ahmed                           Las Vegas, NV                       Age: 32

SUMMARY OF CHARGES

Conspiracy to Traffic in Counterfeit Goods – Title 18, U.S.C., Sections 371 & 2320(a)

Maximum penalty: Five years in prison, $250,000 fine (or twice the pecuniary gain or loss), restitution and forfeiture.

AGENCY

Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Topic(s): 
Financial Fraud
Press Release Number: 
CAS19-0905-Ahmed
Updated September 5, 2019