NEW YORK — Two Chinese nationals have pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit perfume. The case is part of a federal investigation of the importation and distribution of counterfeit perfume and cosmetic products being conducted by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Shaoxiong Zhou, 42, and Shaoxia Huang, 33, both of Shantou, Guangdong, China, pleaded guilty to one count each of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Zhou pleaded guilty on Aug. 5, 2011, and Huang pleaded guilty on Aug. 3, 2011.
In their guilty pleas, Zhou and Huang admitted offering to supply counterfeit perfume to prospective buyers at a Las Vegas trade show in August 2010. A cargo shipment containing counterfeit perfumes was ultimately purchased and shipped to the United States in 2011. That shipment, which was seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) upon arrival in the United States, was found to contain more than 30,000 units of perfume bearing counterfeit marks and made to resemble fragrance products from several well-known brands, including Lacoste, Polo Black and Armani Code.
At sentencing, both defendants face maximum penalties of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine. Sentencing dates have not been set by the court.
The investigation was coordinated with the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center). The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 19 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions, and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.
The Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property (IP Task Force) was created to combat the growing number of domestic and international intellectual property crimes, protect the health and safety of American consumers, and safeguard the nation's economic security against those who seek to profit illegally from American creativity, innovation and hard work. The IP Task Force seeks to strengthen intellectual property rights protection through heightened criminal and civil enforcement, greater coordination among federal, state and local law enforcement partners, and increased focus on international enforcement efforts, including reinforcing relationships with key foreign partners and U.S. industry leaders. To learn more about the IP Task Force, click here.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Jason Gull of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section in the Justice Department's Criminal Division.