Beijing Authorities Put Kibosh On Massive $19 Million iPhone Counterfeit Operation

More than 41,000 fake iPhones have been scooped up by Chinese authorities in a massive bust, thanks to a tip from U.S. officials. Beijing police picked up at least nine people believed to be involved in the operation, which involved a small factory posing as an electronics retailer.

It’s not clear where the fake iPhones were being shipped, though the tip from American officials could indicate that some of the phones reached the U.S. That’s likely a question Beijing authorities will be putting to the couple who ran the counterfeit operation. The two apparently had as many as six assembly lines, which were operated by hundreds of workers. The phones included second-hand components and could have been worth as much as $19 million.

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Beijing authorities arrested a total of nine people in the scam, which was run near the capital. The factory raid actually happened in May, but the public security bureau in Beijing broke the news yesterday on social media.

China isn’t new to knockoff scandals – in fact, it’s home to some particularly bold frauds, including fake Apple stores that weren’t shut down until an American expatriate stumbled across them and uploaded pictures to social media. China has since been tougher (though clearly, not tough enough) on businesses that engage in manufacturing fraudulent products.