New York - A Long Island couple faces charges of importing counterfeit goods from China into the United States. Federal agents arrested the husband and wife Thursday, after seizing millions of dollars in counterfeit goods. The arrests follow an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the New York City Police Department (NYPD).
Le Fu Chen, aka Tom Chen, aka Danny Chen, 40 and Hai Fan Huang, aka Cindy Haung, 36, of Roslyn Heights, New York are each charged with one count of conspiring to traffic counterfeit goods, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The married couple allegedly intended to distribute and sell the counterfeit products to retailers in Manhattan and elsewhere.
“This couple allegedly conspired to profit from the sale of knock offs. Fake products that infringe on business owners’ intellectual property rights, cost jobs and hurts the U.S. economy,” said Glenn Sorge, acting special agent in charge of HSI New York. “These arrests and seizures embody HSI and its law enforcement partners’ commitment to disrupt the importation and sale of counterfeit goods.”
“This is the second example in recent weeks where an air cargo seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection lead to a full investigation resulting in the takedown of an elaborate criminal enterprise,” Robert E. Perez, director of CBP operations in New York. “It is through our interagency partnerships, and collaborative approaches like the one leading to today’s arrests, that law enforcement successfully combats modern criminal organizations.”
According to court documents, from at least in or about November 2014 up to and including in or about October 2015, Chen and Huang imported counterfeit luxury and designer brand goods into the United States from China. Chen and Huang stored the imported counterfeit goods in multiple storage units and business suites across New York with the intent to transfer the goods to retailers in Manhattan and elsewhere.
On Oct. 15, 2015, pursuant to court-authorized search warrants, HSI special agents with assistance from CBP and NYPD officers conducted searches of Chen and Huang’s storage units, business suites, and residence, and found more than 130,000 pieces of luxury and designer brand counterfeit goods, including watches and jewelry. The estimated loss attributable to the defendants’ efforts amounts to millions of dollars.
Chen and Huang each face a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.