A Vancouver man pleaded guilty Friday in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to conspiracy to traffic counterfeit automobile air bags, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Vitaliy Yaremkiv, 25, was arrested April 2 after being indicted on the charge by a grand jury in Seattle.
Between June 2011 and June 2012, Yaremkiv sold more than 900 counterfeit vehicle air bags he had purchased from a source in China. The plea agreement calls for a sentence of 10 months in prison, but U.S. District Ronald B. Leighton, however, is not bound by the agreement at Yaremkiv’s sentencing hearing on Aug. 23. The judge may impose a sentence of up to 10 years.
The crimes occurred while Yaremkiv operated his home-based business, Vital Auto Parts and Sales, according to the news release. He imported counterfeit Honda, Subaru and Toyota air bags from sources in China and elsewhere and advertised and sold the items online as the genuine product. He sold at least 964 of the counterfeit air bags via eBay with sales totaling $137,243. Individual Honda-branded counterfeit air bags were sold for $110.
Investigators believe that many of the air bags were sold to independent garages who installed the air bags without knowing they were a knockoff.
As part of his punishment, Yaremkiv has agreed to pay restitution of $137,243 to Honda and Toyota.
Information for consumers regarding counterfeit airbags is available at http://www.safercar.gov/.