What you need to know

  • Man arrested for smuggling fake Apple products gets 37 months in prison.
  • He orchestrated a scheme over the course of nearly five years that smuggled over 40,000 fake products into the U.S.
  • He was alone in the sentencing, some of the other culprits also got lengthy prison sentences.

Today a Chinese national who orchestrated a scheme to smuggle fake Apple products into the U.S. was sentenced to 37 months in prison. The man, Jianhua "Jeff" Lee, smuggled over 40,000 fake Apple products including iPhones and iPads over the course of nearly five years, per CNET.

The complicated scheme required handling of the products and fake labels according to the Department of Justice.

"The devices were then shipped to conspirators all over the United States," the Justice Department said. "Proceeds were funneled back to conspirator accounts in Florida and New Jersey via structured cash deposits and then a portion was transferred to conspirators in Italy, further disguising the source of the funds.

In total, Li pleaded guilty to multiple counts.

Li, who was living in the US on a student visa, pleaded guilty in a New Jersey District Court to one count of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods and labels and to smuggle goods into the US, as well as one count of trafficking counterfeit goods. He was sentenced by Judge Kevin McNulty in Newark federal court Tuesday.

Li wasn't alone in the sentencing. Some of the other participants got similar 37-month sentences, if not slightly less.

Even though Li was finally caught and now sentenced to jail, it's still unnerving that a scheme like this could go on for nearly five years and go on undetected.