By Jeremy Walsh
A Whitestone resident and another Queens man were among nine people indicted in an international counterfeiting and smuggling ring that delivered goods to sites in Ridgewood and Maspeth as well as College Point, federal authorities said.
Kin Yip Ng, 43, of Whitestone and Yenn-Kun Hsieh, 45, of an undisclosed location in Queens, were charged along with a Brooklyn woman, two Malaysians and four Chinese citizens with conspiring to smuggle counterfeit shoes, handbags and wristwatches into the United States, the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office said.
According to a federal indictment issued March 16, the defendants arranged with undercover agents from the federal Immigrations and Customs Enforcement Bureau to import and clear shipments of counterfeit products into the United States without paying federal taxes and customs duties.
The nine defendants manufactured, brokered and distributed the fake Nike, Coach, Gucci and Cartier goods, importing them from Malaysia and China, federal prosecutors said. The items arrived in Baltimore, where the shipping containers were unloaded and delivered to locations in Ridgewood, Maspeth and College Point, as well as Brooklyn and New Jersey, prosecutors said.
The alleged smugglers imported 130,000 pairs of counterfeit shoes and 500,000 fake designer handbags, officials said.
Hsieh, Ng and others also allegedly paid the undercover agents extra to launder money for their ring and at one point paid the agents to ship three cargo containers to England, prosecutors said.
London police arrested six suspects last week and seized 50,000 items of counterfeit clothing, footwear, handbags and hair straighteners, as well as more than $528,000 in cash during searches at more than 30 spots in the city. Police in that country believe it to be one of the largest seizures of counterfeit goods in England.
Ng, Hsieh and the other seven defendants face up to five years in prison for the conspiracy, a maximum of 20 years in prison on each of the 33 counts of smuggling, up to 10 years each of the 33 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods and a maximum of 20 years on each of the five counts of money laundering, prosecutors said.
“Criminal organizations that smuggle and sell counterfeit goods in the United States endanger our economy and rob legitimate industries of their business,” ICE Assistant Secretary John Morton said in a statement.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.