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Company selling millions of knock-off Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags in New York shut down

By Mason White 6:24 PM December 21, 2014
Louis Vuitton illustration 

By: Tanya Malhotra
A company that was selling million of knock-off Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags was shut down by police this week, prosecutors in New York said.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, New York City Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, and James T. Hayes, Jr., Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in New York, announced that seven Queens residents – two married couples and three other individuals – have been charged with trademark counterfeiting.

More than $2.2 million worth of fake designer handbags, gloves, wallets, watches and other items bearing the logos of various designers – including Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Gucci, and Prada – have been seized from various storage locations from which the defendants allegedly operated.

Naqing Zhang, 31, and his wife, Wei Wei Dong, 32, of 147-14 Willets Point in Whitestone; Chin C. Chu, 43, and his wife, Jian Y. Xia, 38, of 150-16 33 Avenue in Flushing; Sai E. Chen, 39, of 42-56 157 Street, also in Flushing; Wei A. Liao, 41, of 83-11 139 Street in Jamaica; and Pizhong Zhou, 22, of 246-07 61 Avenue in Douglaston, were arrested on Tuesday.

The defendants were arraigned on Wednesday, before Queens Criminal Court Judge Suzanne Melendez, on charges of second-degree trademark counterfeiting.

The defendants, who each face up to four years in prison if convicted, were released on their own recognizance.

The District Attorney said that the investigation – dubbed “Operation Treasure Hunt” – leading to the charges and arrests, began earlier this summer when the New York City Police Department’s Organized Crime Investigations Bureau began a joint investigation with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau into the illegal sale of counterfeit goods.

According to one complaint, defendants Nanqing Zhang and Wei Wei Dong, while working out of two separate storage locations – Treasure Island Storage located at 109-09 180 Street in Jamaica, and 18-02 131 Street in College Point – sold more than fifty counterfeit handbags bearing the Louis Vuitton logo to an undercover operative.

In executing a court-authorized search warrant at the defendants’ Treasure Island bin earlier this week, 65 large boxes were seized, which contained more than 5,300 counterfeit items, including handbags, gloves, wallets, hats and designer tags, bearing the names of such designers as Tory Burch, Michael Kors, Prada, The North Face, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, Hermes, UGG, and Burberry.

Defendants Chin C. Chu and Jian Y. Xia are charged in a second complaint with selling more than fifty counterfeit Gucci and Chanel handbags to an undercover operative from a storage bin at Treasure Island Storage.

In executing a court authorized search warrant at the defendants’ Treasure Island bin earlier this week, more than 1,700 counterfeit items were seized, including handbags, pocket purses, wallets, watches, belts and scarves, bearing the names of Michael Kors, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes and Burberry.

A third complaint alleges that Wei Da Liao, while working out of the Treasure Island Storage facility, sold more than thirty counterfeit boots and jackets bearing the logos of The North Face, UGG, and Michael Kors, to an undercover operative.

In executing a court authorized search warrant at the defendant’s Treasure Island bin earlier this week, more than 2,150 counterfeit items were seized, including pants, hoodies, scarves, gloves, jackets, fleeces, belts, wallets, hats and jeans, bearing the names of Juicy, Michael Kors, Versace, The North Face, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi and True Religion.

A fourth complaint alleges that Sai E. Chen, made more than fifty sales of counterfeit bags to an undercover operative. It is additionally alleged that Chen had counterfeit products delivered to her Flushing residence and that she would then transport the products, as well as other products held in a family member’s garage, to the bin she maintained at the Treasure Island Storage facility.

In executing court-authorized search warrants at her residence, the storage facility and the family member’s garage earlier this week, more than 1,400 counterfeit items were seized, including handbags, wallets, watches, belts, scarves, sunglasses, bracelets and designer tags bearing the logos of Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes,Burberry, Ferragamo, Chanel, Ray Ban and Cartier.

Finally, it is alleged in a fifth complaint that Pizhong Zhou, while working out of the Treasure Island storage facility, sold more than 25 sets of Beats by Dr. dre headphones to an undercover operative.

In executing court authorized search warrants earlier this week at the Treasure Island Storage facility and a College Point storage facility, more than 2,350 counterfeit items were seized, including headphones, mini speakers, boots, sandals, belts, handbags and shirts bearing the logos of Beats by Dr. dre, Michael Kors, Versace, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Ferragamo, Burberry, Hermes, Prada, and Ralph Lauren.