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Press Release

Husband And Wife Charged In Manhattan Federal Court With Conspiring To Traffic Millions Of Dollars’ Worth Of Counterfeit Goods

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of New York

Preet Bharara, the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Glenn Sorge, the Acting Special Agent in Charge for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (“ICE”), Homeland Security Investigations (“HSI”), and Robert E. Perez, the Director of New York Field Operations for U. S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”), announced charges today against two individuals for conspiring to traffic in millions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods.  Defendants LE FU CHEN, a/k/a “Tom Chen,” a/k/a “Danny Chen,” and HAI FAN HUANG, a/k/a “Cindy Huang,” are charged with importing counterfeit goods from China into the United States with the intent to distribute and sell the counterfeit products to retailers in Manhattan and elsewhere.  The defendants were arrested and presented before U.S. Magistrate Judge Kevin Nathaniel Fox today.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said:  “I would like to thank our partners, Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and the New York City Police Department, for their outstanding investigative efforts and assistance in uncovering this alleged counterfeiting conspiracy.”         

ICE HSI Acting Special Agent-in-Charge Glenn Sorge said:  “This couple allegedly conspired to profit from the sale of knock offs.  Fake products that infringe on business owners’ intellectual property rights cost jobs and hurts the U.S. economy.  Today’s arrests and seizures embody HSI and its law enforcement partners’ commitment to disrupt the importation and sale of counterfeit goods.”

CBP Director of New York Field Operations Robert E. Perez said:  “This is the second example in recent weeks where an air cargo seizure by U.S. Customs and Border Protection led to a full investigation resulting in the takedown of an elaborate criminal enterprise.  It is through our interagency partnerships, and collaborative approaches like the one leading to today’s arrests, that law enforcement successfully combats modern criminal organizations.”

According to the allegations in the Complaint[1]:

From at least in or about November 2014 up to and including in or about October 2015, CHEN and HUANG, who are husband and wife, imported counterfeit luxury and designer brand goods into the United States from China.  CHEN and HUANG stored the imported counterfeit goods in multiple storage units and business suites across New York with the intent to transfer the goods to retailers in Manhattan and elsewhere.

On October 15, 2015, pursuant to court-authorized search warrants, federal law enforcement agents conducted searches of CHEN and HUANG’s storage units, business suites, and residence, and found over 130,000 pieces of luxury and designer brand counterfeit goods, including watches and jewelry.  The estimated loss attributable to the defendants’ efforts amounts to millions of dollars.

CHEN, 40, and HUANG, 36, of Roslyn Heights, New York, are each charged with one count of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods, and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.  Each defendant faces a maximum potential sentence of 20 years in prison.

The maximum potential sentences in this case are prescribed by Congress and are provided here for informational purposes only, as any sentencing of the defendants will be determined by the judge.

Mr. Bharara praised the outstanding investigative work of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.  He also thanked the New York Police Department for its assistance.

This case is being handled by the Office’s General Crimes Unit.  Assistant United States Attorney Jane Kim is in charge of the prosecution.

The charges contained in the Complaint are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.


[1] As the introductory phrase signifies, the entirety of the text of the Complaint, and the description of the Complaint set forth herein, constitute only allegations, and every fact described should be treated as an allegation.

Updated October 15, 2015

Press Release Number: 15-267