News and Press Releases

New jersey man sentenced to five years in prison in scheme to bribe port officials



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 6, 2011


 

NEWARK, N.J. – A local importer who was not authorized to sell or import luxury goods from China to New Jersey was sentenced today to 60 months in prison for his role in a conspiracy to bribe U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials with more than $700,000 to traffic counterfeit luxury goods through the Port of Newark and other United States ports of entry, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.

Michael Hanna, 29, a/k/a “Mike Nova” and “George Flores,” of Little Ferry, N.J., pleaded guilty in March 2010 to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of public officials and to traffic in counterfeit luxury goods before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler, who also imposed sentence today in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:

Hanna admitted that from June 2008 to March 2009, he conspired with others to import counterfeit handbags, pocketbooks, sneakers and other counterfeit goods that were intended to imitate the products of legitimate luxury manufacturers such as Coach, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Nike. He also admitted that over a period of time he paid more than $700,000 in cash to an undercover law enforcement agent whom he believed was acting at the direction of a corrupt CBP official. Hanna made the cash payments to solicit the help of port officials in ensuring that at least 15 of the shipping containers holding the counterfeit merchandise were not seized or detained at port.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Chesler sentenced Hanna to three years of supervised release.

U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Peter T. Edge, in New Jersey; the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement Office of Professional Responsibility, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Terence Opiola; and thanked CBP, under the direction of Robert E. Perez, Director, Field Operations, New York Field Office, for their support which resulted in today’s sentence.

The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Seth B. Kosto of the U.S. Attorney’s Office Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Group in the Economic Crimes Unit.

11-011                                                                                          

Defense counsel: Brian Neary, Esq., Hoboken.

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