Petersburg Store Owner Pleads Guilty to Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods
WASHINGTON – Belal Amin Alsaidi, 30, of Buffalo, N.Y., pleaded guilty today to trafficking in counterfeit goods, announced U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride for the Eastern District of Virginia and Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
Alsaidi pleaded guilty before U.S. Magistrate Judge M. Hannah Lauck in Richmond, Va., to one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. In his guilty plea, Alsaidi admitted that he sold shoes and apparel that he knew were counterfeit at his two stores in Petersburg, Va., from May 2007 until March 2009. Alsaidi also admitted that he purchased these counterfeit goods from an individual in New York.
According to court documents, Alsaidi received more than 1,400 packages of counterfeit merchandise at his stores from New York over a 23-month period. The merchandise bore fake trademarks for companies such as Nike, NFL, Lacoste, True Religion and Coogi.
Sentencing is scheduled for Feb. 23, 2012, at 9:30 a.m., before U.S. Chief Judge James R. Spencer in Richmond. At sentencing, Alsaidi faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine.
This case 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/.The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David T. Maguire and Trial Attorney Kendra R. Ervin of the Criminal Division’s Computer Crime & Intellectual Property Section. The investigation was conducted by the FBI’s Richmond Division.