3 charged with selling counterfeit cell phones

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SAN DIEGO — A husband and wife from Chula Vista and the woman’s father were arraigned in federal court in San Diego Monday on charges of trafficking in counterfeit cellphones and laundering money.

Can your cell phone bring down a plane?Michael Deitz, 39, Leora Schwarz, 32, and Sidney Schwarz, 60, are charged in a criminal indictment along with their business, OHR Inc.

Between 2009 and 2013, Dietz allegedly arranged for the purchase and shipment of counterfeit merchandise from China to Chula Vista, and then transported the merchandise to Mexico, where it was sold in retail stores owned by the defendants.

According to prosecutors, more than $1 million of the proceeds of the sales was returned to the United States in cash and deposited by Sidney Schwarz, also a Chula Vista resident, in increments of less than $10,000 so as to evade currency-reporting requirements.

The indictment alleges that co-conspirators in China emailed invoices bearing the words “cover illegal logos” to Leora Schwarz and that her father wired payments for those bills to back to the Asian nation.

The counterfeit merchandise included cellphones and accessories bearing the trademarks of Motorola, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Apple, LG, Blackberry and Samsung, court papers allege.

The indictment alleges the defendants stored hundreds of counterfeit mobile phones at their homes, intending to transport them to Mexico to be sold, and transferred their money to Mexico once they became aware of the government’s investigation.

The defendants’ next court appearance in the case is a motions hearing scheduled for June 6.

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