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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, December 9, 2019

Las Vegas Businessman Sentenced to Prison for Trafficking More Than $1 Million in Counterfeit Electronics

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

NEWS RELEASE SUMMARY – December 9, 2019

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

Saad Ahmed was sentenced to six months in custody today by U.S. District Judge Thomas J. Whelan, based on Saad’s conviction for 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.  In 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.

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 the goods were actually inauthentic copies.  Court filings relate that some of Ahmed’s customers had quality complaints about counterfeit parts purchased from his business. 

Part of Ahmed’s scheme involved grossly undervaluing his international imports to deflect U.S. Customs’ attention from his shipments, according to court documents.  Ahmed then directed his staff to destroy the false undervalued invoices when the shipments arrived at his warehouse. 

Ahmed agreed to pay restitution to the three trademark holders in an amount totaling $269,681, which constituted the proceeds Ahmed’s business received 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 in June 2018.  

“Counterfeit merchandise is a threat to consumers, to legitimate producers, and to the entire economy,” said U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer.  “The public is entitled to trust that a trademark means a product is authentic, and not that an unscrupulous merchant is trying to make a quick buck at their expense.  Counterfeit goods are not easy money.  They are a crime.”

“HSI takes great pride in getting justice for the victims of this counterfeit merchandise scheme, which preyed on unsuspecting customers,” said Francisco Burrola, Special Agent in Charge, Homeland Security Investigations (Nevada).  “Counterfeiting and intellectual property rights violations are anything but victimless crimes—they harm legitimate businesses, consumers and governments.”

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.

AGENCIES

Homeland Security Investigations

U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Topic(s): 
Consumer Protection
Financial Fraud
Intellectual Property
Press Release Number: 
CAS19-1209-Ahmed
Updated December 9, 2019