Chinese Nationals Sentenced in Counterfeit Sneaker Case
BUFFALO, N.Y. – U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr. announced today that Huang Yue Feng, 33, of Queens, N.Y., and Wang He Bin, 31, of Franklin Square, N.Y., formerly husband and wife, who were convicted of conspiracy to import goods falsely classified, were sentenced to 12 months in jail by U.S. District Court Judge Richard J. Arcara. The defendants also forfeited over $400,000 in cash and property seized during the execution of search warrants at warehouses in the New York City.
Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski, who handled the prosecution of this case, stated that Feng and Bin 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. Defendant Bazzi, who was also convicted in this case, then sold the counterfeit sneakers to several individuals, including people in Buffalo and Niagara Falls, who in turn resold the counterfeit products to consumers. Some of the shoes were sold out of the back of vans, at flea markets and in clothing stores.
As a result of wire taps in this case, defendant Bin was recorded taking orders, discussing payments, and directing the delivery of the counterfeit sneakers to defendant Bazzi. Defendant Feng was observed loading sneakers into a van at warehouse locations and then delivering them to defendant Bazzi. AUSA Rogowski, in asking the Court to impose a prison sentence, noted that jail sentences were needed to send a message to those involved in trafficking counterfeit goods that they faced more than mere financial consequences for engaging in their crimes.
The defendants, who were first arrested in connection with this case in September, 2007, are among 23 individuals charged in the case. Twenty-two of the defendants were convicted and one defendant was acquitted after a trial before Judge Arcara in October of 2012.
“Today’s developments bring to a successful conclusion to the largest prosecution involving violations of intellectual property rights in the Western District of New York,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “This prosecution is part of the government=s aggressive enforcement of customs laws that protect the investment of manufactures, such as Nike, and also protect consumers who might unwittingly purchase inferior counterfeit goods. During the course of the investigation, over 310,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers were seized by law enforcement officers. In addition, over $1,000,000 in cash from the sale of the counterfeit product was also seized.”
The sentences 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.