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February 18, 2016Boston, MA, United StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Nebraska man sentenced in Massachusetts to 15 months for counterfeit iPad return scam

BOSTON — A Nebraska man was sentenced in federal court Thursday for his role in a conspiracy to purchase genuine Apple iPads and return counterfeit ones in their place, while reselling the genuine products for cash.

This sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Ernesto Leyva, 27, of Lincoln, Nebraska, formerly of Miami, Florida, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and transport stolen goods. Leyva was indicted in the District of Massachusetts in July 2015, and subsequently pleaded guilty in October 2015.

Co-defendants, Yoan Sanchez Rodriguez, 26, formerly of Hialeah, Florida and Yulaisy Dominguez, 27, also formerly of Hialeah, Florida, were also charged in the same conspiracy.

Between December 2012 and December 2013, Leyva engaged in a conspiracy to purchase genuine iPads from Walmart and Target and then return counterfeit iPads to the stores, for a full refund. He would then resell the genuine iPads.

The scheme began shortly after Christmas 2012 and was concentrated on Walmart stores in the Northeastern United States (Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Maine, and Connecticut), between December 2012 and February 2013, and Target stores in Florida in July 2013. The total retail loss was more than $80,000.

Leyva was arrested in Nebraska in July 2015. In October 2015 the case was transferred from the District of Massachusetts to the District of Nebraska, for a plea and sentencing. Following completion of his prison sentence Leyva must also serve three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $27,745.33 in restitution.

Defendants Rodriguez and Dominguez, who are married, are currently federal fugitives.

Members of the public who have questions, concerns or information regarding this case or knowledge of the whereabouts of Rodriguez and Dominguez should call the HSI toll-free Tip Line at 1-866-DHS-2-ICE or can contact HSI by completing its online tip form.