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Cheektowaga man admits selling 360 phony airbags

A Cheektowaga man pleaded guilty Friday to selling 360 phony automobile airbags, U.S. Attorney James P. Kennedy Jr. said.

Raymond Whelan, 49, pleaded guilty before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. He faces up to 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine at his Dec. 17 sentencing.

Prosecutors say Whelan, who operated, agreed to buy counterfeit airbags from his co-defendant David Nichols. Whelan would contact Nichols and order the phony airbags with fake trademarks from Honda, Toyota, Nissan, Subaru, Mazda, Hyundai, Acura and Mitsubishi. Nichols would then find manufacturers in China to supply the requested airbags, Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo said. Whelan sold 360 counterfeit airbags on eBay, officials said.

Multiple undercover purchases were made from Rayscarparts71 during the probe and airbags were seized from the defendant’s business.

Nichols was previously convicted and is awaiting sentencing.

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