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Intellectual Property Rights

Orange County man sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for illegally importing counterfeit exercise equipment

LOS ANGELES — An Irvine man was sentenced Monday to 30 months in federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit goods, including counterfeit exercise equipment purporting to be Malibu Pilates, Bowflex and Ab Circle Pro.

Stanley Kuo Jua Yang, 36, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge R. Gary Klausner, who remanded Yang into custody at the conclusion of Monday's sentencing hearing. The charges are the result of a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) with substantial assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

In the summer of 2009, Yang imported 40-foot containers with the counterfeit exercise equipment. On Sept. 22, 2010, federal special agents served a search warrant at Yang's Fountain Valley business and discovered additional counterfeit exercise equipment. The special agents found complete machines, parts, manuals and stickers, as well as thousands of pirated Zumba and Core Rhythm exercise DVDs, more than 10,000 counterfeit Silhouette slim pants, and hundreds of pirated BMW navigation DVDs. The value of the goods was approximately $900,000.

The case against Yang is one of a series of criminal prosecutions in the Central District of California addressing intellectual property theft and, specifically, counterfeit exercise equipment. In 2010, a Chino woman was sentenced to 41 months in prison for importing nearly $600,000 worth of counterfeit exercise equipment and paying a cash bribe to a person she thought was a U.S. customs official. In 2011, a Los Angeles man received a 30-month prison sentence for importation of approximately a quarter million dollars' worth of counterfeit exercise equipment.

The HSI-led multi-agency Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.