Monday, December 16, 2013

FBI Arrests Importers of Counterfeit Goods

Counterfeit goods have been available in Chinatown in NYC for a long time.  Even John Stewart makes jokes about it on his show.  Of course, someone must import these goods.

The FBI has made arrests in one operation of counterfeit imports, plus money laundering.

This is from the FBI web-site.  The FBI is really busy, and reading their press releases is
quite an eye opener.

click here for link to complete news release

Nine Admit Guilt in Largest Counterfeit Goods Conspiracy Ever Charged

U.S. Attorney’s Office December 13, 2013
  • District of New Jersey (973) 645-2888

NEWARK, NJ—Nine members of a massive, international counterfeit goods conspiracy have admitted their roles in the scheme, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Hai Dong Jiang, 37, and Fei Ruo Huang, 37, both of Staten Island, New York; Hai Yan Jiang, 34, of Richardson, Texas; Xiance Zhou, 39, and Jian Chun Qu, 33, both of Bayside, New York; and Ming Zheng, 48, of New York, pleaded guilty today before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in Newark federal court. Dong Jiang, Ruo Huang, and Yan Jiang pleaded guilty to informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. Xiance Zhou and Qu pleaded guilty to informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to structure money. Zheng pleaded guilty to an information charging him with a conspiracy to launder money.
Wei Qiang Zhou, 38, of Brooklyn, New York, pleaded guilty December 3, 2013; Patrick Siu, 41, of Richardson, Texas, pleaded guilty December 4, 2013; and Da Yi Huang, 43, of Staten Island, pleaded guilty December 11, 2013, all before Judge Salas in Newark federal court, to informations charging them each with one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
From November 2009 through February 2012, the defendants ran one of the largest counterfeit goods smuggling and distribution conspiracies ever charged by the Department of Justice. The defendants and others conspired to import hundreds of containers of counterfeit goods—primarily handbags, footwear, and perfume—from China into the United States in furtherance of the conspiracy. These goods, if legitimate, would have had a retail value of more than $300 million.
The counterfeit goods were manufactured in China and smuggled into the United States through containers fraudulently associated with legitimate importers, with false and fraudulent shipping paperwork playing a critical role in the smuggling scheme. Some of the conspirators created and managed the flow of false shipping paperwork between China and the United States and supervised the importation of counterfeit goods, and others controlled the importation of the counterfeit goods into the United States.
Other conspirators managed the distribution of counterfeit goods once those goods arrived in the United States. After importation, the counterfeit goods were delivered to warehouses and distributed throughout New York, New Jersey, and elsewhere. Certain conspirators paid large amounts of cash to undercover law enforcement officers to assist in the removal of counterfeit goods from the port.
Some conspirators acted as wholesalers for the counterfeit goods, supplying retailers who sold counterfeit goods to customers in the United States. Other conspirators were money structurers who arranged for cash to be wired to China in amounts small enough to avoid applicable financial reporting requirements to evade detection of the smuggling scheme and related proceeds.
Law enforcement introduced several undercover special agents (collectively, the UCs) to the conspirators. The UCs purported to have unspecified “connections” at the port, which allowed the UCs to release containers that were on hold and pass them through to the conspirators. The conspirators paid the UCs for these “services.” In total, during the course of this investigation, the conspirators provided the UCs more than $2 million.
UCs recorded dozens of phone calls and in-person meetings with various conspirators. The investigation also utilized several court-authorized wiretaps of telephones and electronic communications.


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