California duo arraigned on fake electronics charges

Seized iPhonesTwo men from California have been accused of making and selling counterfeit iPhone and iPad products, along with other fake consumer electronics, valued at $3m.

Father and son Rateb Said Najjar (60) and Eyad Rateb Najjar (36) have also been arraigned on money laundering and conspiracy charges relating to the alleged criminal activity and face a maximum sentencing of 104 years in jail, according to US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Prosecutors say the pair laundered in excess of $5m and were caught with counterfeit merchandise with a retail value of more than $2.8m including cell phones, tablets, computers, portable media players, and game consoles.

Eyad Najjar was arrested on December 10, while Rateb Najjar gave himself into the authorities a week later. A third defendant - Amir Ali Shaerzadeh (36) - has been charged with the same offences and is currently a fugitive with an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

According to an ICE statement, the defendants operated a business in Fountain Valley that sold counterfeit merchandise imported from Hong Kong and China, including not only Apple goods but also copies of products made by Nokia, Blackberry, Ferrari, Nintendo and Google.

An investigation into the gang started in November 2011 after US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) intercepted a shipment of tablets that were found to contain counterfeit software.

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