This is just in USA. What happens in other countries is beyond thinking. There are nuclear warhead in many companies and i am sure those nations do not have very rigorous testing facilities to separate counterfeit parts.
This is crazy. Prior to the new CBP redaction policy in 2008, chip companies say they were able to resolve 85% of CBP requests for identification.
But now that all markings are blacked out in the photos CBP sends to the chip companies, that percentage must be nearly zero.
Why do they even send out redacted photos? CBP could just as well send a written description, like "black molded plastic on top of a small circuit board with X number of solder balls in a grid on the underside" -- and then somehow expect a manufacturer to answer whether that part is legit or not!
They're asking for a tough sentence for McCloskey, given that she was just the assistant on this scam, and that she pled guilty. How is some office manager going to pay $600,000? The principal here was Shannon Wren, but since he died in May, he's beyond their reach. The prosecutors sound frustrated and vindictive.
The original charge also said that VisionTech had only imported 60,000 chips, for which it paid $400,000 and re-sold for $16M. That sounds a lot more minor than "imported 3,263 shipments". That's only 18 parts per shipment, about a FedEx envelope's worth.
I also wonder if the real driver behind this is less national security than it is chip company's annoyance at counterfeiters. IP theft drives people crazy, E.g. RIAA suing little old ladies, and maybe they're making an example of VisionTech. The investigation was done by a special unit of the DoJ devoted to IP, not to security.
BTW, does anyone know if Wren's death was a suicide? "A drug overdose" could be accidental or deliberate. He was certainly looking at a serious sentence, and they had seized a lot of his assets. He was apparently quite well known in drag-racing circles, and had a lot of cars.