Florida Man Charged in Federal Counterfeit Case for Trafficking Bogus Automotive Devices ‘Reverse Engineered’ in China
|U.S. Attorney’s Office February 06, 2014|
LOS ANGELES—A Florida man was charged today with trafficking in counterfeit electronic engine control devices manufactured and marketed by a Southern California company for use in modified Honda and Acura vehicles.
Marc Heera, 24, of Sunrise, Florida, was charged with one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods, an offense that carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years in federal prison. The charge is contained in a criminal information filed this morning in United States District Court.
Federal prosecutors today also filed a plea agreement in which Heera agreed to plead guilty to the felony offense of selling counterfeit circuit boards that are installed in engine control units to boost performance. In the plea agreement, Heera admits that he reverse-engineered, manufactured, advertised, and sold approximately 86 counterfeit Hondata K-Pro and S300 devices, which are aftermarket devices manufactured and sold by the Torrance-based Hondata Inc.
In the plea agreement, Heera admits that, beginning in 2009, he arranged for Hondata’s K-Pro and S300 devices to be reverse-engineered. Investigators believe that Heera had the devices reverse engineered in China, and he then paid an unknown Chinese company to build some of the devices. Heera also manufactured counterfeit circuit boards at his workplace, which contained Hondata’s proprietary software. The counterfeit devices bore Hondata’s trademarked name, as well as counterfeit serial numbers. Heera also admitted creating counterfeit packaging, labels, instructions, and compact discs for the devices.
Heera, using the online screen name Maddman7887, then advertised and sold the counterfeit K-Pro and S300 devices over the Internet, he admitted in the plea agreement. To avoid detection, Heera installed the counterfeit K-Pro devices into used ECUs or instructed the customers to send their ECUs to him for installation. Heera specifically admitted selling 62 counterfeit K-Pro devices and 24 counterfeit S300 devices, generating approximately $58,000 in income. If the products had been genuine, they would have had a retail value of approximately $74,000.
Heera has agreed to appear in federal court in Los Angeles for an arraignment on March 24.
The investigation in this matter was conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.