A federal grand jury has indicted two residents of Covina, CA, on a federal conspiracy charge, mail fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.
They’re accused of importing and selling counterfeit Pandora Jewelry and Ray-Ban sunglasses. Xiaoying Xu, age 34, a Chinese citizen, and Yiwen Zhu, age 34, a Chinese citizen and legal permanent resident of the U.S., allegedly conspired with others to defraud e-commerce customers, obtaining more than $2 million in the scheme.
“These defendants allegedly imported counterfeit goods from China and sold them as legitimate merchandise using the registered trademarks of legitimate companies,” said U.S. Attorney Robert K. Hur.
“Those who traffic in counterfeit goods are committing a crime which results in American jobs lost, American business profits stolen, and American consumers tricked into receiving substandard products.”
The crimes are alleged to have occurred from about August 2016 until approximately April 2019, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland.
The indictment alleges that the defendants used their residence and offices in El Monte and Alhambra, CA, as destination points for shipments of counterfeit goods shipped from Hong Kong and China. Xu and Zhu allegedly repackaged the counterfeit goods, then mailed them to unsuspecting customers throughout the U.S.
The defendants allegedly used fraudulent accounts set up with e-commerce marketplace companies to sell the goods, misrepresenting to customers that they were authentic. Xu and Zhu obtained funds from the victims of the counterfeit scheme through fraudulently acquired customer accounts opened in the names of other people at a global online payment company, according to the release.
The online payment company sent the victims’ money to Xu and Zhu by electronic transfer to bank accounts or by check, which the defendants then cashed at ATMs, the release states. The indictment alleges that the defendants then transferred the proceeds of the scheme from their bank accounts to other bank accounts opened in the names of other Chinese nationals.
If convicted, the defendants face a maximum sentence of five years in prison for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and traffic in counterfeit goods; a maximum of 20 years in prison for each of six counts of mail fraud; and a maximum of 10 years in prison for each of six counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
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