NEW YORK - A federal grand jury in Brooklyn, N.Y., returned a two-count indictment against three Chinese nationals for trafficking in counterfeit goods and conspiracy, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Shaoxia Huang, Shaoxiong Zhou and Shaowu Zhou, all from Guangdong Province, China, allegedly imported more than 37,000 individual units of counterfeit cosmetic fragrances into the United States. According to the indictment returned on Tuesday, the counterfeit perfume, believed to have been manufactured in China, bore trademarks belonging to well-known fragrance brands. They were also packaged in a manner likely to be confused with genuine fragrances sold under these well-known brands.
"Trademark infringement and intellectual property crimes not only threaten jobs and revenues in our country, but the bogus products can pose a serious threat to a consumer's health and safety," said James T. Hayes Jr., special agent in charge of ICE HSI in New York. "We will continue to aggressively investigate those who engage in this type of criminal activity and defend the right of American businesses to sell their products without the threat of counterfeit merchandise robbing them of legitimate profits."
Huang and Shaoxiong Zhou were arrested in Las Vegas, Nev., on March 2, and have been held in custody since their arrest.
If convicted, each defendant faces up to five years in prison on the conspiracy charge, up to 10 years in prison on the counterfeit products charge, and fines of up to $2.25 million. The indictment also seeks forfeiture of profits from illicit trafficking in counterfeit goods as well as the seizure of the goods.
An indictment is merely an accusation, and defendants are presumed innocent unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Jason Gull of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section.