A federal grand jury in Virginia Thursday (Oct. 25) indicted Indonesian national Katiran Lee with trafficking in counterfeit automotive accessories while living in Duluth and participating in a conspiracy to sell to unsuspecting U.S. consumers more than $3 million worth of counterfeit General Motors (GM) and Bavarian Motor Works (BMW) automotive diagnostic devices and other automotive equipment.
The indictment was announced Friday in a press release by U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia and officials with the U.S Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and the FBI.
Lee, 39, was charged with two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, four counts of wire fraud and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
According to the indictment, Lee conspired with manufacturers in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to sell automotive diagnostic devices bearing counterfeit GM and BMW marks to consumers in the United States from August 2008 through December 2011.
These devices are used by mechanics to identify problems with and assure the safety of motor vehicles employing electronic control systems. Lee allegedly advertised and sold the diagnostic devices on eBay and through his own website and had the PRC manufacturers send counterfeit devices bearing unauthorized GM and BMW marks directly to his customers.
During this same period, Lee also advertised and sold more than 35,000 counterfeit programmed keys and key fobs for vehicles produced by GM, BMW and numerous other automotive manufacturers, including Chrysler, Honda, Toyota, Audi, Mercedes Benz, Ford, Infiniti, Land Rover, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Peugeot, Renault, Subaru, Suzuki, and Volkswagen. Lee allegedly programmed the keys himself and affixed counterfeit marks to deceive consumers into believing that the products came from the respective automotive manufacturers.
In the indictment, the federal government is seeking forfeiture of computers, programming equipment and thousands of blank keys and trademarked automotive emblems recovered during a search of Lee’s home on Feb. 22, 2012, and the forfeiture of properties totaling up to $600,000.