DA Hynes Announces Seizure of Warehouse Used in Counterfeiting

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Brooklyn – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes announced the seizure of a warehouse, at 537 Johnson Avenue, and the arrest of two people, Fu Xian Bao and Xiao Ping Luo, on charges they sold and stored illegal black- and grey-market goods at the building, including a cache of dangerously realistic, toy handguns.

“The sale of counterfeit and grey-market goods poses serious health and safety risks to people who buy them innocently, and the same channels bootleg shampoo is smuggled through can be used to smuggle drugs, guns, or even bombs,” said District Attorney Hynes. “My office will prosecute these defendants to the fullest extent of the law, and we will continue to root out this illegal activity wherever it occurs in Brooklyn.”

In July 2008, investigators with the Kings County District Attorney’s Office learned that the warehouse, run under the name Ya Mei Trading, was handling large amounts of illegal merchandise. Working in an undercover capacity, KCDA Detective Investigators made several purchases from the warehouse, between October 2008 and January 2009. Items purchased included counterfeit New York Yankee caps, counterfeit Disney children’s products, counterfeit Spiderman products, and counterfeit Chanel hair products. They also purchased numerous “grey-market” items – that is, products certified for sale in other countries, but not manufactured to American safety and consumer protection standards. Among those were Dove soap, Bic razors and Halls cough drops, and household extension cords that posed a fire hazard.

Between July 14, and September 15, 2008, US Customs and Border Protection, acting on information provided by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office, seized three containers of grey-market and counterfeit goods, which had been shipped from China, for delivery to Ya Mei Trading.

Ya Mei Trading lists its corporate offices at a residential location, 2145 74th Street, Bensonhurst. The Chief Executive Officer of Ya Mei Trading is listed as Fu Xian Bao, 48. The home on 74th Street is owned by Xiao Ping Luo, 41. Both Bao and Luo are signatories on corporate accounts for Ya Mei Trading, and both were observed by Detective Investigators on numerous occasions conducting business at the warehouse on Johnson Avenue.

The three seizures last summer had a retail value of approximately $1.4 million, and financial records show Ya Mei Trading making bank deposits exceeding $100,000 per month, as well as wire transfers to and from China.

A search warrant was executed on the warehouse Monday, and Detective Investigators recovered numerous black- and grey-market goods, including more than 2,000 toy guns equipped with fake laser sights. Such toy guns are illegal in New York, because of the dangers created if they are mistaken for the real thing.

Also recovered were counterfeit products with labels including Disney, Marvel Comics, Nickelodeon and Major League Baseball. Grey-market items included Dove soap, Head & Shoulders shampoo, Olay and Gillette products and Halls cough drops.

Search warrants executed at Bao and Luo’s Bensonhurst home revealed numerous counterfeit tags and labels, including those purporting to represent Prada, Chanel, and Mark Jacobs. These tags are often applied to counterfeit merchandise.

After the warehouse was cleared of all the counterfeit and grey-market goods, the Waterfront Commission of New York Harbor Police Chief John Hennelly took possession of the items.

Bao and Luo have been charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the First Degree, a Class-C Felony carrying a maximum penalty of up to 15 years in prison, Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree, Three Counts of Trademark Counterfeiting in the Third Degree, and Sale or Possession of Toy or Imitation Firearms, a Class-A Misdemeanor.

They were arraigned Wednesday, in Brooklyn Criminal Court. Bail was set at $5,000.

The case was investigated by Detective Investigators Radmila Aliyev, Greg DeBoer, Anabell Talavera and Philip Betso. George Terra is Assistant Chief Investigator. Joseph Ponzi is Chief Investigator.

Assistant District Attorney John Steffy, of the Money Laundering and Revenue Crimes Bureau worked on the asset forfeiture aspects of the case. Joseph McCarthy is Chief of the Money Laundering and Revenue Crimes Bureau.

Senior Investigative Attorney Karen Turner is prosecuting the case. Michael Vecchione is Chief of the Rackets Division.

(YWN Desk – NYC)