Over $2m of fake clothing and bags seized in New York

NYPD vehicleFifty New York City Police Department and US Homeland Security officials have seized hundreds counterfeit goods with an estimated street value of $2.2m.

'Operation Treasure Hunt' was the culmination of a seven-month investigation that resulted in seven arrests at a storage facility in Queens.

Police arrested Nanqing Zhang, 31; Wei Wei Dong, 32; Pizhong Zhou, 22; Sai Chen, 39; Ying Jian Xi, 38; Chen Chin Chu, 42, and Wei Liao, 41.

The police found Michael Kors, Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Gucci handbags displayed in several of the units, as well as a higher number of North Face jackets, Gucci watches and stacks of boxes of fake Ugg boots.

One storage unit had a table full of copycat Gucci and MCM wallets, as well as imitation Beats by Dr Dre headphones, Hermès-inspired belts, Nike sneakers and Kors flip-flops.

While some of the dealers sold directly to consumers, others also sold to distributors who then sold the knockoff goods themselves.

In all, six bins worth of goods were seized. The suspects are facing felony charges that could lead to a year or more of jail time, or potential civil penalties.

In addition, a significant amount of the goods appear to have been produced or to have been sourced from Asia, according to investigators.

NYPD Captain Brian Sayre said: "We don't have a lot of Asian undercover officers or informants, so it's hard to break into their little world other than buying their merchandise."

For the fiscal year 2013, Homeland Security reported the number of intellectual property rights seizures increased 7 per cent to 24,361 compared to fiscal 2012. In addition, the manufacturer's suggested retail price of the goods, had they been genuine, jumped 38 per cent to $1.74bn.

Just last week NYPD made three arrests for selling counterfeit goods — two on Mulberry Street and one in Midtown as well as a few more in the Bronx, Sayre said.

"Companies are losing money because they're not getting these sales. I think if someone wants a Michael Kors purse they're going to buy one whether it's legitimate or counterfeit," Sayre added.

Image courtesy of:
pisaphotography /

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