A Vancouver man was arrested Tuesday for allegedly selling more than 900 counterfeit air bags that may fail to deploy during a crash or may deploy into a ball of fire, said U.S. Attorney Jenny A. Durkan.
Vitaliy Yaremkiv, 25, faces up to 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine at his May 28 trial in front of U.S. District Judge Ronald B. Leighton.
Yaremkiv operated a business, Vital Auto Parts, out of his Vancouver home where he imported counterfeit Honda, Subaru and Toyota air bags, according to the indictment. He sold at least 964 of the counterfeit air bags through eBay, bringing in $137,243 in sales, according to a news release from Durkan’s office. Honda air bags went for $110 each.
FBI and Homeland Security Investigations agents believe many of the air bags were sold to garages that installed them in vehicles, thinking they had purchased a genuine, working air bag.
“Counterfeit air bags are untested, unregulated, and extremely unsafe,” said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Seattle. “While law enforcement is working to stem the flow of these dangerous products into the U.S., it’s important that consumers are aware of this danger. Automobile safety experts say it’s 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.”
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Norman Barbosa.