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Cheektowaga man sentenced for selling counterfeit airbags

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Posted at 11:46 PM, May 09, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-09 23:46:03-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — A Cheektowaga man will spend two years behind bars for selling products that put everyone on the road at risk.

49-year-old Raymond Whelan was sentenced Thursday.

Whelan pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods back in December. Prosecutors say Whelan was selling counterfeit airbags on an automobile parts website known as Rayscarparts71.com. The fake automobile air bags had counterfeit trademarks of Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Acura, and Mitsubishi.

Prosecutors say Whelan worked with an accomplice, David Nichols. Nichols found the counterfeit airbags in Chinese supply stores, then mislabeled them or disassembled them so they would not draw attention during importation. Whelan would then assemble the air bags before selling them even though he had little to no knowledge on how to do so. In addition to selling the airbags on his website, Whelen listed the air bags on eBay as genuine used airbags designed to fit Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Acura, and Mitsubishi.

During the investigation, multiple undercover purchases were made from Rayscarparts71 and airbags were seized from Whelan's business.

All the purchased and seized airbags were determined to be counterfeit and none of the automobile manufacturers authorized the defendant to utilize their trademarks.

Whelan imported and sold more approximately 360 counterfeit automobile airbags with an average manufacturer’s retail price of $650.00. The total infringement amount was $236,600.

Co-defendant David Nichols was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing.