05 Jun 2024 -
 Defence

Swindler faces jail for selling fakes to U.S. Defence

Electronics counterfeit mitigation

Steve H.S. Kim, a 63-year-old from Alameda County, California, has pleaded guilty to a scheme that defrauded the Department of Defense (DoD) by selling over $3.5 million worth of counterfeit and substandard fan assemblies. These components were intended for use in critical military systems, including nuclear submarines, aircraft laser systems, and surface-to-air missile systems.

“Swindling our military is a sure way to find oneself in jail”

U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey for the Northern District of California

According to court documents, Kim, through his company, knowingly supplied counterfeit and used fan assemblies, falsely claiming they were new. He went to great lengths to deceive the DoD, creating counterfeit labels, some bearing trademarks of another company, and providing fake tracing documents when questioned.

The Justice Department has strongly condemned Kim’s actions, highlighting the grave threat they posed to national security. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Nicole M. Argentieri stated, “Criminals who cheat the U.S. military by selling deficient or counterfeit goods put our national security at risk.” U.S. Attorney Ismail Ramsey for the Northern District of California added that “Swindling our military is a sure way to find oneself in jail.”

Various agencies, including the Defense Criminal Investigative Service (DCIS), Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), Homeland Security Investigation (HSI), and Army Criminal Investigation Division (CID), collaborated to uncover and dismantle Kim’s fraudulent operation.

Kim’s guilty plea to charges of wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for wire fraud and 10 years for trafficking in counterfeit goods. The final sentence will be determined by a federal district court judge on July 17th. This case serves as a stark reminder of the severe consequences of compromising the integrity of military equipment and the unwavering commitment of law enforcement to protect national security.

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