“The manufacture of counterfeit goods — and their use to defraud US companies — seeks to fundamentally undermine the marketplace and harms innocent people whose identities were stolen in furtherance of these activities,” Brewer said.
Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The FBI’s investigation took years and spanned across many jurisdictions.
The scheme allegedly involved 14 people who now face dozens of fraud, conspiracy, identity theft and money laundering charges. The FBI arrested 11 people but is still looking for three others.
The release noted that the bust occurred early Wednesday in San Diego, California, where law enforcement seized roughly $250,000 in cash and 90 iPhones that may be counterfeit.
It also noted that the alleged ringleaders, three brothers, were arrested with their wives. The brothers are naturalized US citizens born in China, according to the release from the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of California. Most of the others allegedly involved are US citizens, naturalized from China, Vietnam and Russia.