In November 2023, Simon Chu, a 68-year-old man from Chino Hills, and Charley Loh, a 65-year-old man from Arcadia, were found guilty of one count of conspiracy to defraud the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and one count of failure to furnish information as required by the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA). Each defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of five years in federal prison for each count of conspiracy to defraud and the failure to furnish information.
Defective Humidifiers and Conspiracy to Defraud
According to the case files, Chu and Loh's businesses sold defective humidifiers manufactured by Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai (Gree Zhuhai) in China. The recall notice states that 450 reported fires and millions of dollars in property damage have been linked to the Gree Zhuhai humidifiers that had been recalled for overheating, smoke, and the possibility of catching on fire.
Both defendants were part owners of Gree USA Inc. and another business in the City of Industry, each of which distributed and sold Gree Zhuhai dehumidifiers. In 2012, Chu and Loh's businesses became aware that these dehumidifiers were not only defective but also dangerous and could catch fire. However, they never reported the information to CPSC like they were supposed to and continued to sell them for at least six months.
The Justice Department's Civil Division is keen to hold companies and their employees responsible for knowingly selling dangerous consumer products. As such, Gree USA was also sentenced and forced to pay a $500,00 criminal fine. Moreover, Gree USA, Gree Zhuhai, and Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliance Sales Co. Ltd. must pay $91 million in restitution to the victims of the defective dehumidifiers.
How a Skilled Attorney Can Help
Attorney Vitaly Sigal of Sigal Law Group understands how overwhelming it can be to put together a criminal defense. If you or someone you know has been accused of conspiracy to defraud or failure to furnish information, Sigal Law Group can help. Call 818-325-0570 or schedule a free consultation online today.