WASHINGTON – Two defendants, Shaoxiong Zhou, 42, and Shaoxia Huang, 33, both of Shantou, Guangdong, China, have pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit perfume, announced Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch for the Eastern District of New York.
Zhou pleaded guilty today before U.S. Chief Magistrate Judge Steven M. Gold in Brooklyn, N.Y., to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Huang pleaded guilty before Magistrate Judge Gold on Aug. 3, 2011, to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
In their guilty pleas, Zhou and Huang admitted offering to supply counterfeit perfume to prospective buyers at a Las Vegas trade show in August 2010. A cargo shipment containing counterfeit perfumes was ultimately purchased and shipped to the United States in 2011. That shipment, which was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection upon arrival in the United States, was found to contain more than 30,000 units of perfume bearing counterfeit marks and made to resemble fragrance products from several well-known brands, including Lacoste, Polo Black and Armani Code.
At sentencing, both defendants face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Sentencing dates have not been set by the court.
The case is part of a federal investigation of the importation and distribution of counterfeit perfume and cosmetics products being conducted by the Assistant Special Agent in Charge, John F. Kennedy International Airport, of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Jason Gull of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The guilty plea announced today is an example of the type of efforts being undertaken by the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force). Attorney General Eric Holder created the IP Task Force to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation’s economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, go to www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce/.