Chinese Nationals; Husband and Wife, Sentenced in Counterfeit Sneaker Case
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Xiao Cheng Lin, 50, and Ling Zen Hu, 51, of Flushing, N.Y., who were convicted of conspiracy to import goods falsely classified, were sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. Xiao Cheng Lin was sentenced to one year in prison and a $7,500 fine. Lin’s husband, Ling Zen Hu, was sentenced to six months in prison and a $6,000 fine. The defendants will forfeit $750,000 in cash and other monetary instruments that were seized during a search of their residence in 2007.
Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Rogowski and Frank Pimentel, who handled the prosecution of this case, stated that Lin and Hu were involved in the importation of counterfeit Nike sneakers from China which were then distributed throughout the United States. The defendants sold the counterfeit products to a co-defendant in New York City, Malik Bazzi. Bazzi then sold the counterfeit sneakers to several individuals, including individuals in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, who resold the counterfeit products to consumers. Some of the shoes were sold out of the back of vans, at flea markets and clothing stores. As a result of wire taps in the case, Hu was recorded taking orders, discussing payments, and directing the delivery of the counterfeit sneakers to defendant Bazzi. Lin was observed loading sneakers into van at warehouses locations and then delivering them to Bazzi.
During the course of the investigation, over 310,000 pairs of counterfeit sneakers Nike were seized by law enforcement. In addition, over $1,000,000 in cash from the sale of counterfeit sneakers was also seized.
The defendants along with 21 others from around the United States were arrested in September 2007. A total of 22 defendants have been convicted.
The sentencing’s are the culmination of an investigation on the part of Special Agents of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of James C. Spero, Special Agent in Charge.