September 24, 2023


Reinvent your ride!

Eastern District of Pennsylvania | Philadelphia Vehicle-Mechanic Pleads Guilty to Trafficking Harmful Auto Airbags from China

3 min read

PHILADELPHIA – United States Legal professional Jacqueline Romero announced that Emiliano Rodriguez, 45, a citizen of the Dominican Republic residing in Philadelphia, PA pleaded guilty to a single rely of trafficking in counterfeit products, and two counts of leading to the shipping and delivery of dangerous components by air carrier in link with a scheme to employ counterfeit items in utilised autos, which he then resold to unsuspecting buyers.

From at minimum in or about January 2017 through on or about Oct 30, 2019, defendant Rodriguez, an automobile mechanic, fraudulently imported airbags from China and put in these defective areas in salvaged autos which have been then reintroduced to the purchaser industry. China has been identified as the premier exporter of counterfeit commodities, which includes counterfeit airbags. Individuals included in the trade of counterfeit airbags engage in this observe in an energy to raise income from their profits by reducing the prices of the areas made use of to exchange the original goods. Unsuspecting motorists order remanufactured motor vehicles unaware of the background or the substandard/defective aspect(s) applied in the car or truck reconstruction. When acquired and pushed on general public roadways, the vehicles expose the driver, passengers and standard community to the dangers connected with vehicle malfunctions due to the use of substandard parts. Some of these malfunctions may well include things like tires inclined to blow-outs, brakes unable to withstand the higher temperatures linked with highway driving speeds, and airbags incapable of timely inflation or about-inflation that outcome in the dying or significant harm of the driver or other folks exposed to the defective airbag. In this situation, federal agents recovered much more than 450 counterfeit airbags and pieces from Rodriguez’s home and enterprise.

“Counterfeit airbags are participating in Russian roulette with the lives of unsuspecting shoppers,” reported U.S. Attorney Romero. “The Countrywide Highway Targeted visitors Safety Administration notes that counterfeits have consistently been proven to malfunction. Emiliano Rodriguez peddled these airbags for profit, understanding lives would be at hazard. Consumers need to also be mindful of the danger. Our place of work will carry on to perform with federal, condition, and local law enforcement associates to retain these hazardous counterfeit solutions from getting imported.”

“Emiliano Rodriguez’s plea ought to provide as a powerful warning that disreputable actors could circumvent our laws and security protocols by utilizing international commerce to receive and install defective, unsafe, and counterfeit gear in purchase to make a earnings,” reported Exclusive Agent in Demand of Homeland Stability Investigations Philadelphia William S. Walker. “In all business transactions, we urge individuals to perform their have investigate and only acquire from reputable dealers who have a verifiable track file of authorized performance. The consequences of not undertaking so can be dire, together with financial losses or even the loss of lifetime or limb.”

“Today’s announcement is a sober reminder that the security of the general public is put at grave risk when counterfeit airbags are illegally transported by air and later on launched into the market and cars and trucks touring on our roads,” stated Christopher A. Scharf, Specific Agent in Charge, Department of Transportation Office of Inspector General, Northeastern Location. “As we continue on performing with our legislation enforcement and prosecutorial partners, we also stimulate the community to assessment methods obtainable at” 

The defendant faces a highest probable sentence of 10 years’ imprisonment, three several years of supervised launch, fines of $50,000, and a $200 unique assessment. As a non-U.S. citizen, he also faces deportation.

The scenario was investigated by the Office of Homeland Protection, Homeland Stability Investigations and the Department of Transportation, and is becoming prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney M. Beth Leahy.

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