8 May 2018Trademarks

Man charged for distributing electronics ‘likely to cause death’

The owner of a distribution store has been charged with 20 counts of trafficking in counterfeit electronic components and one count of trafficking in counterfeit military goods that he knew could cause injury or death.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency announced the news on Tuesday, May 1.

Rogelio Vasquez owns PRB Logics, a global distributor of electronic components based in California. He was arrested last week on federal charges including the sale of counterfeit integrated circuits, according to ICE.

The indictment charges Vasquez with 20 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, nine counts of wire fraud, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit military goods. He reportedly acquired old or discarded integrated circuits from Chinese suppliers, which were repainted and re-marked with counterfeit logos.

Date codes and countries of origin were also re-marked on the devices in an effort to deceive customers into believing the products were new, and Vasquez reportedly sold the counterfeit electronics purporting to be new parts made by well-known manufacturers such as Xilinx, Analog Devices and Intel.

The charge related to military goods said Vasquez sold eight integrated circuits that purported to be manufactured by Xilinx with the knowledge that the use, malfunction, and failure of the products is “likely to cause serious bodily injury and death” or cause “significant harm” to “national security”.

The wire fraud charges allege that Vasquez instructed Chinese suppliers to re-mark the integrated circuits and that he also asked a laboratory in China to provide two versions of reports.

One version reportedly showed accurate results of the integrated circuit test and the other was a “sanitised version” which failed to note any markings or otherwise that could have shown the poor condition of the products.

Last month federal prosecutors filed an asset forfeiture complaint against $97,362 in cash which was seized from Vasquez’s residence in 2016.

Charges of wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit military goods each have a maximum prison sentence of 20 years and each count of trafficking counterfeit goods carries a maximum ten-year sentence.

The investigation into Vasquez and PRB Logics is being conducted by ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, and the National Reconnaissance Office, Office of Inspector General.

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