A Burlington County man today admitted buying counterfeit computer components from a factory in China for sale in the United States, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Ronald Graban, 53, of Columbus, N.J., pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Noel L. Hillman in Camden federal court to an Information charging him with mail fraud and money laundering.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
Beginning in 2000, Graban was in the business of buying and reselling computer parts. Graban operated his computer parts business using various entities that he had set up, including, but not limited to, RPR International LLC, Graham Enterprises International, Innovative
Technology Group, MT Loveland Corp., Golden Eagle Property Management, Andy Lee Inc., and Andy Lee Electronics. From early 2006 to mid-2007, Graban purchased counterfeit Cisco and Nortel components from a factory in China and then resold them to an Internet retailer, who sold them to the public.
In December 2004, he began buying computer parts from a company in China named GigaLight Electronic (HK) Co. Ltd., a/k/a Eflow (GigaLight/Eflow). These parts were mostly network connecting parts, and appeared identical to parts manufactured by Cisco Systems Inc. and Nortel Networks, two large computer parts and services companies. Graban represented to certain persons at the Internet retailer that the parts were genuine Cisco and Nortel parts.
In early 2006, Graban became aware that GigaLight/Eflow was selling counterfeit computer parts to Graban’s companies after U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) seized several shipments of computer parts from GigaLight/Eflow and notified companies of the seizures and of the fact that the parts seized were counterfeit. Despite being on notice that the computer parts he had been buying were counterfeit, Graban continued to buy those parts and resell them to the Internet retailer.
In February 2006, Graban caused the Internet retailer to mail him a check for $163,000 in payment for counterfeit parts he sold to the retailer. That check was made payable to one of Graban’s companies and he deposited that check into the bank account of another one of his companies.
In August 2007, almost $890,000 was seized from various bank accounts that Graban maintained in the name of his companies. Two properties in Florida were seized, but later went into foreclosure. Graban agreed to forfeit the funds seized and the proceeds from the two foreclosure sales (a total of another approximately $50,000).
The mail fraud count to which Graban pleaded guilty is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison. The money laundering count is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison. Both counts are also punishable by a maximum potential fine of $250,000 or twice the gross amount of any pecuniary gain or loss from the offense. Sentencing is scheduled for Dec. 21, 2012.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of Immigration and Customs Enforcement
– Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees; IRS-Criminal Investigation, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Victor W. Lessoff; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, under the direction of Karen V. Higgins in Philadelphia; and CBP, under the direction of under the direction of Director of Field Operations Robert E. Perez, director, New York Field Office, with the investigation leading to today’s guilty plea