California Man Guilty of Selling $3.5M in Counterfeit Electronics for Military Use

These were parts for aircraft laser systems, nuclear submarines and surface-to-air missile systems.

The Department of Justice announced that a California man pleaded guilty to a scheme that involved selling more than $3.5 million worth of deceptive fan assemblies to the Department of Defense’s Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).

According to the DOJ, the defendant, 63-year-old Steve H.S. Kim, controlled an unnamed company that sold fan assemblies to the DLA. But the fan assemblies were either counterfeit or misrepresented to be new. The DOJ added that some of the counterfeit fans went on to be installed, or were planned to be installed, with electrical components on an aircraft’s laser system, a nuclear submarine and a surface-to-air missile system. 

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Kim deceived the DLA by creating counterfeit labels that used a separate company’s registered trademarks and attaching them to the fan assemblies. When the DLA asked Kim about the products’ origins, he presented fake tracing documents that he made and signed with a false identity.

Efforts to catch Kim involved Homeland Security Investigations, the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Army Criminal Investigation Division and the DOJ. 

Ismail Ramsey, a U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, commented on Kim’s actions and said, “Swindling our military is a sure way to find oneself in jail.” However, Kim will likely find himself in prison after pleading guilty to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods and one count of wire fraud. The trafficking and fraud counts carry a maximum penalty of 10 and 20 years, respectively. Kim’s sentencing is scheduled for July 17.

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