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INDIAN TRAIL, NC (WBTV) -
A Union County man plead guilty to illegally shipping in fake car parts to the United States.
Igor Borodin, 27, of Indian Trail, pleaded guilty Monday in U.S. District Court in Charlotte to trafficking in counterfeit airbags.
Borodin also pleaded guilty to delivering and causing to be delivered hazardous material, automobile airbags, by air commerce in violation of rules and regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Transportation, according to the news release from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of North Carolina.
"My client sold airbags that had counterfeit logos and emblems on them, that's illegal and he's accepting responsibility for it," said Chris Fialko, Borodin's attorney.
On August 21, a federal criminal indictment charged Borodin with one count of trafficking and attempting to traffic in counterfeit airbags bearing the registered trademarks of automobile manufacturers, and one count of delivering and causing to be delivered hazardous materials (airbags) to air carriers for transportation in air commerce.
According to filed court documents and related court proceedings, Borodin is part-owner of Krugger Auto, located in Charlotte. On August 16, federal agents executed search warrants at Krugger Auto and Borodin's residence in Indian Trail.
Court records show that while executing the search warrants, agents recovered 99 counterfeit airbags from Borodin's business and 1,514 counterfeit airbags from his residence. Court records also show that Borodin had purchased the counterfeit airbags from China, which he then resold through eBay.
According to filed documents and court proceedings, the counterfeit airbag shipments ordered by Borodin did not display the legally-required hazardous material warnings when the shipments were transported in air commerce from China to the United States.
"My client's an example of an American dream gone bad by dealing with Chinese manufacturers, that's what happened in this case, he regrets it," said Fialko.
Under the plea agreement, Borodin could spend up to 15 years behind bars and pay more than 2.2 million dollars in fines.
The Department of Transportation has classified airbags as Class 9 dangerous goods, and as such they must be classified, documented, packaged, marked and labeled in accordance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations.
The transportation of airbags without legally-required warnings of the hazardous material contained in airbag shipments pose a safety risk to all persons transporting and handling the unmarked hazardous materials.
According to court records, Borodin sold at least an estimated 7,000 counterfeit airbags online, and between February 2011 and May 2012 Borodin earned at least $1.4 million dollars in revenue from the eBay sales of the counterfeit airbags. Independent testing of a counterfeit airbag sold in September 2011 by Borodin through eBay showed that the airbag did not properly inflate.
Borodin entered his plea of guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge David S. Cayer. Count one (trafficking in counterfeit airbags) carries a maximum term of ten years in prison and a $2 million fine. Count two (delivering hazardous material) carries a maximum prison term of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
At today's plea hearing, Judge Cayer also issued a consent order and judgment of forfeiture based on the charges contained in the indictment. Pursuant to the consent order, the Court found that, as a result of his criminal conduct, Borodin obtained $1,743,400 in proceeds which he must forfeit. In addition, the Court ordered forfeiture of numerous specific properties including Borodin's residence, all of the seized counterfeit airbags, and $60,000 in cash seized from his Indian Trail home.
Borodin has been in local federal custody since his arrest on August 16. He will remain in custody until his sentencing hearing, which has not been scheduled yet.