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Intellectual Property Rights
05/17/2013

Washington man pleads guilty to trafficking in counterfeit air bags

TACOMA, Wash. — A 25-year-old man who sold counterfeit vehicle air bags over the Internet pleaded guilty Friday to trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Vitality Yaremkiv, of Vancouver, Wash., sold more than 900 illegally imported counterfeit air bags between June 2011 and June 2012, earning nearly $140,000. An investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the FBI uncovered his home-based online business operating as Vital Auto Parts and Sales, LLC.

Prosecutors say Yaremkiv imported counterfeit Honda, Subaru and Toyota air bags from sources in China, and then sold the knockoffs as genuine products at discount prices on eBay. As part of the plea agreement, the prosecution and the defense are jointly recommending a sentence of 10 months in prison. Yaremkiv has agreed to pay restitution of $137,243 to Honda Motors Corporation and Toyota Motors Corporation. Sentencing is scheduled for Aug. 23 in Tacoma.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is critical that vehicle owners work with their automotive dealers and repair professionals to ensure they use the appropriate, original equipment parts in the event they need to replace their air bag. Vehicle owners concerned they may have had a counterfeit air bag installed in their car can visit NHTSA's web site at http://www.safercar.gov. Investigators are working to notify Yaremkiv's customers of their counterfeit purchase.

The case is being prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington.