Business Owner Sentenced for Sale of Counterfeit Integrated Circuits to the U.S. Government
On February 15, 2012, Mustafa Abdul Aljaff, 32, a business owner from Newport Coast, California, was sentenced to 30 months in prison in United States District Court for the District of Columbia. Mr. Aljaff was convicted for conspiring to sell counterfeit integrated circuits to the United States military, defense contractors, and others. Upon completion of his prison term, Mr. Aljaff will be placed on three years of supervised release. He also must perform 250 hours of community service. Mr. Aljaff also agreed to forfeit machinery designed to be used in the examination, testing, packaging, de-marking, and marking of integrated circuits; computers and computer network servers; and his integrated circuit inventory. Finally, he must pay $177,862 in restitution to the semiconductor companies whose trademarks were infringed as a result of his criminal conduct.
Mr. Aljaff pled guilty soon after his arrest and cooperated with authorities as the investigation continued. He owned MVP Micro and a host of other companies operating from the same location in Irvine, California. According to the government's evidence, he was the leader of the highly sophisticated fraud scheme to import, sell, manufacture and distribute, in interstate and international commerce, counterfeit integrated circuits. The conspiracy took place between September 2007 and August 2009.
Markings on integrated circuits indicate a part is "commercial-grade,"industrial-grade," or "military-grade." Military grade markings signify that the part has been specially tested to withstand extreme temperature ranges and high rates of vibration. According to the government's evidence, Mr. Aljaff and others sold the counterfeit devices, which included "military-grade" parts, through a cleverly designed web of corporations to unsuspecting customers in the United States and abroad. MVP Micro and related companies sold and distributed counterfeit integrated circuits to approximately 420 buyers in the United States and abroad, including the U.S. Department of the Navy and others in the transportation industry.
Co-defendant, Neil Felahy, 34, the MVP Mirco operations manager and Mr. Aljaff's brother-in-law, is awaiting sentencing on February 22, 2012, after pleading guilty to charges in the case.
The investigation was conducted with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Internal Revenue Service-Criminal Investigation Division and the Postal Inspection Service.