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Intellectual Property Rights
05/09/2012

San Jose store owner indicted for trafficking in counterfeit designer goods

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The owner of a local boutique that sells women's clothing and handbags was arrested Tuesday on federal charges for trafficking in counterfeit goods, following a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Hau Phuc Nguyen, 30, owner of Cizi's Handbags, is charged in an indictment unsealed Tuesday with one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods and five counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

According to the indictment, Nguyen conspired with others to import counterfeit Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses from the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong and the Republic of Korea. The indictment also alleges the San Jose woman sold the counterfeit handbags at her shop located at 2062 N. Capitol Avenue.

Nguyen made her initial appearance in court Tuesday and was released on a $100,000 bond. The conspiracy charge carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss resulting from the conspiracy. The maximum penalty for each count of trafficking in counterfeit goods is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. All of the counterfeit goods and proceeds derived from such criminal activity are subject to forfeiture.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Matthew A. Lamberti with support from legal assistant Tracey Andersen. HSI received assistance with the case from Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Anyone with information about individuals committing intellectual property offenses can report those crimes to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center by going to http://www.iprcenter.gov/referral or calling (866) IPR-2060.