Last week more than $1 million in goods were seized, along with embroidery machines estimated to have illegally labeled 16 million articles of clothing, in what law enforcement officials have called the biggest counterfeit manufacturing bust in state history.
The arrest, which was made in Westbury, was announced by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, District Attorney Madeline Singas, Acting Police Commissioner Thomas Krumpter, Sheriff Michael Sposato and representatives from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Counterfeiting is a billion dollar global industry and the United States is the number one destination for fake merchandise, officials said.
“Counterfeiting defrauds our consumers by providing them inferior quality goods and robs artists and designers of their work product – all while damaging the designer’s brand with poor quality knockoffs and undermining innovation,” Mangano said. “This arrest stops a major distribution chain in its tracks.”
The arrest was made on June 16 when Nassau deputy sheriffs were executing an eviction at a commercial warehouse and reportedly observed hundreds of boxes of assorted clothing and industrial type embroidery, sporting brand names like North Face, True Religion, Lacoste, Polo and Uggz, staged to be attached to clothing.
Nassau’s Third Squad and the District Attorney’s Office later determined that counterfeit merchandise was present. Police placed the tenant of the building in custody, and the tenant was later charged with trademark counterfeiting.
Representatives from the DHS are further investigating the possible use of seaports and airports as means of delivery and transport of the labels.
“This is an excellent example of a well-organized, multi-agency investigation which led to the disruption and dismantling of this elaborate counterfeiting operation,” Krumpter said.