Manufacturer Sentenced for Trafficking Counterfeit Airbags
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Dai Zhensong, 28, a citizen from the People's Republic of China was sentenced to more than three years in prison following his guilty plea to trafficing in counterfeit airbags. Chief U.S. District Judge Curtis L. Collier also ordered Zhensong to pay $210,738 in restitution and to serve an additonal three years supervised probation upon his release.
In September 2010, six boxes containing 68 airbags originating from Guangzhou Global Auto Parts International Group Co. LTD (Guangzhou Auto Parts), located in Guangyhon City, People's Republic of China, were intercepted by HSI and determined to be counterfeit items.
Zhensong was a partial owner and manager of the international department of Guangzhou Auto Parts, a company that specializes in the production of auto parts, many of which are counterfeit according to information entered at court. He was arrested following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Tennessee Department of Transportation and the Tennessee Highway Patrol – Criminal Investigation Division.
The counterfeit airbags were manufactured by purchasing genuine auto airbags, which were torn down and used to produce molds to manufacture the counterfeit airbags. Trademark emblems were purchased through Honda, Toyota, Audi, BMW and other dealerships located in China and affixed to the counterfeit airbags. The counterfeit airbags were advertised on the Guangzhou Auto Parts website and sold for approximately $57 each, far below the value of an authentic airbag. To date, more than 300 counterfeit airbags originating from Guangzhou Auto Parts have been seized in Chattanooga, with a value of approximately $210,738, which is the agreed amount for restitution.
"This case is an excellent illustration of how the manufacturing, smuggling and selling of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of HSI New Orleans. "Not only do these products do financial harm to trademark holders, in this instance testing proved that had the counterfeit airbags deployed in an automobile accident, the resulting explosion and shrapnel could have seriously injured or killed occupants of the vehicle."