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Press Release

Laredo Downtown Merchant Admits Guilt

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

LAREDO, Texas – Ji Hui Chen, 43, a merchant in downtown Laredo, has pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Vincent Iglio, acting special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Chen, a U.S. legal permanent resident who was born in Taiwan, is the owner of J Design located in downtown Laredo.

HSI special agents met with Chen and conducted undercover buys of counterfeits goods at Chen’s place of business. Approximately 5,722 counterfeit items of numerous styles and brands of handbags, wallets, hats, sunglasses, shirts and luggage, all of which were counterfeit, were seized over the course of the investigation. Brands included Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Chi, Coach, Dooney and Bourke, Gucci, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Nike, Oakley, Polo, Prada, Rayban, Rolex, Tory Burch and Dolce & Gabanna. 

“Intellectual property theft is not a victimless crime and should concern every American,” said Iglio. "Enforcing our nation's counterfeiting laws is about protecting our economy, while also shielding the unwitting consumer from sub-par and/or unsafe merchandise and upholding the intellectual property rights of those who play by the rules.”

At sentencing, to be set at a later date, Chen faces up to 10 years in federal prison as well as a $250,000 fine.

The case was investigated by HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Roel Canales is prosecuting the case.  

Updated April 30, 2015