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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 9, 2019

Cheektowaga Man Sentenced For Buying And Selling Counterfeit Airbags

CONTACT: Barbara Burns
PHONE: (716) 843-5817
FAX #: (716) 551-3051

BUFFALO, N.Y. - U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy, Jr. announced today that Raymond Whelan, 49, of Cheektowaga, NY, who was convicted of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, was sentenced to serve 24 months in prison by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo, who handled the case, stated that between June 2015 and March 2016 the defendant operated an online automobile parts business known as Rayscarparts71.com. From this website Whelan sold counterfeit automobile air bags bearing counterfeit trademarks of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Acura, and Mitsubishi.    The counterfeit air bags Whelan sold were obtained from co-defendant David Nichols whose role was to find Chinese supply sources.

In order to avoid detection during importation, the airbags were mislabeled or arrived unassembled.   Whelan would then assemble the air bags before selling them even though he had little to no knowledge on how to do so. The air bags were listed on eBay as genuine used airbags designed to fit Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Acura, and Mitsubishi.

During the investigation, multiple undercover purchases were made from Rayscarparts71 and airbags were seized from the defendant’s business. All the purchased and seized airbags were determined to be counterfeit and none of the automobile manufacturers authorized the defendant to utilize their trademarks.

Whelan imported and sold more approximately 360 counterfeit automobile airbags with an average manufacturer’s retail price of $650.00. The total infringement amount was $236,600.
Co-defendant David Nichols was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

Today’s sentencing is the result of an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Kevin Kelly and Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Rose Brophy, Director of Field Operations.

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Topic(s): 
Intellectual Property
Updated May 9, 2019