A Surrey man was sentenced Tuesday (Sept. 30) to six months in a federal U.S. prison for selling counterfeit vehicle airbags from China on eBay.
According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Abdul Masood Qayumi, 25, and his brother Abdul Masih Qayumi, 25, marketed and sold more than $33,000 worth of fake Honda, BMW and Toyota airbags for about a year.
Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) began its investigation after American Honda Motor Corporation alerted investigators of the brothers’ online sales scheme.
In August 2013, HSI special agents bought two airbags from the brothers. One of the airbags was tested and failed to deploy and shot flames from the top and bottom, said ICE in a press release. Part of the airbag cover also separated and was propelled toward the driver’s seat.
In November 2013, investigators made a second purchase, but this time saw the Qayumi brothers cross into the U.S. from Canada to mail the package from a postal outlet in Blane, Wa.
The brothers initially denied knowing the products they were selling were fakes, but evidence such as multiple eBay accounts and emails proved otherwise.
“In one email,” said an ICE spokesperson, “Masood complained to his supplier that half of the airbags were being returned because customers were concerned they were being shipped from China and they did not trust the quality.”
Masood Qayumi was arrested at the Peace Arch Border crossing in May and pleaded guilty in July to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, two counts of smuggling goods into the U.S. and two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The $33,000 in restitution will be paid to the companies whose trademarks were infringed.
Masih Qayumi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods in July and is scheduled to be sentenced Oct. 7.
Vehicle owners concerned they may have had a counterfeit airbag installed in their car can visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s website at http://www.safercar.gov