Prison term for fake airbag cover seller in US

A man charged with selling counterfeit airbag covers has been sentenced to six months in prison by a US district judge.

Sacramento resident Pavel Ryzhenkov (33), who imported hundreds of fake covers from China bearing trademarks owned by various auto manufacturers – including Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Dodge, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercury, Nissan, Subaru, Toyota, and Volkswagen – and sold them on eBay for at least four times the amount he paid.

He reportedly made around $210,000 from the scam, buying the covers for $15-$20 apiece and selling them on for $50-$80. A raid on his home and auto repair business uncovered several hundred counterfeit covers.

Airbag covers made by unauthorized manufacturers can malfunction causing serious injury or death, according to the Department of Justice. Upon deployment of an air bag in a crash, counterfeit air bag covers can shatter, sending shrapnel into a vehicle’s passenger compartment.

Ryzhenkov’s lawyer said his client was unaware of the risks associated with airbag covers and considered there were merely decorative. According to prosecutors, General Motors, Honda and Subaru had visually inspected the fake covers and determined they could pose safety risks to passengers. He pleaded guilty to the charges last August.

“Mr Ryzhenkov did not disclose the origin of the counterfeit air bag covers and thereby caused consumers to unknowingly operate vehicles not equipped with properly functioning air bags, posing a serious risk to their safety,” said Billy Williams, US Attorney for the District of Oregon.

He had been facing up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2m, so got off lightly. Prosecutors had been pushing for an 18-month sentence.

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top