Jason Jordan, of Moxee, admitted in a plea agreement that from at least July 2010 to August 2012, he imported counterfeit Ford, GM, Honda, and Toyota air bags from sources in China. He then sold the knockoffs as genuine products at discount prices on eBay, grossing nearly $450,000 between June 2011 and August 2012. Court documents say Jordan operated his businesses, Auto Pros and Sickspeed, Inc., from his home, and marketed his counterfeit products under the eBay username "AutoProsWarehouse." Investigators noted his online listings included warnings such as: "Beware of fake repacked airbags on eBay! Ours are real!"
Jordan was indicted and arrested last October following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigation (HSI). HSI special agents learned of his operation after several shipments bound for Jordan's address were intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Over the course of the investigation, law enforcement seized more than $57,000 in cash and in excess of 5,500 counterfeit car parts and air bags. As part of the plea agreement, Jordan will forfeit the seized cash, pay a judgment of $100,000 to the government and pay restitution in the amount of $444,180.28. Prosecutors are recommending a sentence of 31 months in prison.
"The prosecution of fraud cases is a priority of my office," said U.S. Attorney Michael C. Ormsby. This fraud case is particularly egregious because the lives of innocent people were placed at risk by the sale of these counterfeit products."
"Counterfeit air bags are untested, unregulated, and extremely unsafe," said Brad Bench, special agent in charge of HSI Seattle. "While law enforcement is working to stem the flow of these hazardous products into the U.S., it is important consumers are aware of the danger."
Jordan's employee and co-conspirator, Salvador Martinez, 31, of Parker, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to failing to report knowledge of a felony. Under the terms of his plea agreement prosecutors are recommending he serve a year of probation.
Sentencing for Jordan and Martinez is scheduled for Sept. 11 at the federal courthouse in Yakima.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), it is 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. Vehicle owners concerned they may have had a counterfeit air bag installed in their car can visit NHTSA's web site at http://www.safercar.gov.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Dimke of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Washington is prosecuting the case.