— You can buy just about anything on eBay, but can you order the latest fashion in counterfeit air bags? Apparently so, as the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Washington busted two men for selling fake air bags on the auction website.
Abdul Masood Qayumi, 25, and his brother Abdul Masih Qayumi, 26, were selling the Chinese-made counterfeit air bags on eBay where any consumer could allegedly find a replacement air bag for their Honda, BMW or Toyota vehicle.
After the men sold over $33,000 worth of the fake air bags, Honda discovered the scheme and notified the U.S. government. Agents from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) unit bought two Honda air bags on eBay which Honda confirmed to be counterfeits.
One of the air bags was tested and shot flames from the top and bottom of the bag, while a portion of the air bag cover exploded toward the driver-side of the car.
Although the investigation showed the air bags were counterfeit and dangerous, the Qayumi brothers denied they were selling junk equipment. However, government investigators presented emails where Masood Qayumi complained to the Chinese supplier about customers returning the air bags after seeing the equipment was made in China.
Additionally, court records show the men used numerous eBay accounts and deceptive shipping procedures to keep the scheme going.
Masood Qayumi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, two counts of smuggling goods into the United States and two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Masood was sentenced to six months in federal prison, three years of supervised release and was ordered to pay $33,000 in restitution to the car manufacturers.
Masih Qayumi pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and is scheduled to be sentenced October 7, 2014.
Check out a video of the test of a counterfeit air bag. (American Honda Motor Corporation/U.S. Attorney evidence exhibit)