Four Men Charged In Counterfeit Sports Jersey Scheme On Wildwood Boardwalk
NEWARK, N.J. – Two Atlantic County men were arrested today on charges that they participated in a multi-year conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit merchandise, including professional sports teams’ jerseys, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Brett Strothers, 32, of Egg Harbor Township, N.J,, and his brother Evan Strothers, 28, of Mays Landing, N.J., were arrested at their homes this morning by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, on a complaint charging both men with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods. Both men are scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Cathy L. Waldor in Newark federal court today. Also charged in the complaint were Joseph Cuozzo, 44, a United States Citizen residing in Thailand, and Haresh Aildasani, 27, an Indian Citizen residing in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
According to the Complaint:
From 2010 to 2012, Brett and Evan Strothers purchased large quantities of counterfeit National Basketball Association (NBA) and National Football League (NFL) sports jerseys, which they used as prizes in several different basketball and football tossing amusement park games they operated on the Wildwood and North Wildwood boardwalk. The games enticed customers to pay for the chance to win a purported authentic NBA or NFL jersey by shooting basketballs into a hoop or tossing footballs through a target at various stands.
Brett and Evan Strothers purchased the counterfeit sports jerseys from, among others, Couzzo, who operated as a middleman between the defendants and Aildasani, who manufactured the jerseys in the PRC and sold them to numerous customers.
Between 2010 and 2012, the defendants Brett and Evan Strothers allegedly purchased at least 16,700 counterfeit NBA and NFL jerseys from defendant Cuozzo, who in turn purchased the jerseys from defendant Aildasani and kept a portion of money for himself. The Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price for authentic versions of these jerseys is estimated at approximately $4 million.
The count with which the defendants are charged carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million, or twice the gross amount of gain or loss sustained by any victim.
U.S. Attorney Fishman credited special agents of HSI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Andrew M. McLees in Newark, with the investigation leading to today’s arrests. He also thanked officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, under the direction of Director of New York Field Operations Robert E. Perez their role in the case.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hafetz of the U.S. Attorney’s General Crimes Unit in Newark.
The charges and allegations contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are considered innocent unless and until proven guilty.