Man Arrested in $24M Scheme to Sell Bogus Laptop Batteries

The 28-year-old is a Chinese national who moved to the Los Angeles area in 2012

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A Southern California man was arrested Thursday in an alleged $24 million scheme to sell counterfeit laptop batteries from China in the United States, federal prosecutors said.

Zoulin Cai, a Chinese national who moved to the Los Angeles area in 2012, faces multiple charges including conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a release.

It wasn't immediately known if Cai, 28, has an attorney.

The indictment alleges Cai and co-conspirators in China manufactured bogus lithium-ion batteries that bore counterfeit trademarks of companies like Apple, Dell and Toshiba.

They then sold the fake batteries to unsuspecting individuals in the U.S. via online sellers like eBay and Amazon, prosecutors said. Counterfeit lithium-ion batteries carry the risk of extreme heat, fire, and explosions.

The batteries that Cai and his co-conspirators allegedly shipped lacked required internal safeguards, according to prosecutors.

The counterfeit batteries allegedly were imported, sold, and shipped from Southern California warehouses operated by Cai in La Puente and the City of Industry, prosecutors said.

The indictment alleges that Cai and his co-conspirators fraudulently obtained at least $23.8 million from the sales from 2014 through June 2019.

If convicted of all charges, Cai would face a statutory maximum sentence of 50 years in federal prison.

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