Three Cuffed; Knockoff Merchandise Seized
Three individuals at a Flushing warehouse were arrested last week for their alleged involvement in the illegal distribution of trademark counterfeited toys with an estimated retail value of between $300,000 and $500,000.
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown identified the defendants as Ying Jiang, 38, of 144th Street in Whitestone and her employees, Deqiang Luo, 49, of 22nd Road in Whitestone and Haiwei Chen, 54, of Prince Street in Flushing.
They were arraigned last Thursday, June 21, before Queens Criminal
Court Judge Deborah Stevens Modica on a criminal complaint charging each of them with first-degree trademark counterfeiting, a Class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Luo and Chen were released on their own recognizance, and bail was set at $5,000 for Jiang. They were ordered to return to court on July 10.
Brown said that a court-authorized search warrant drafted by his Economic Crimes Bureau was executed last Wednesday, June 20, at J & L Trading’s warehouse, located at 15- 17 132nd St. in Flushing. The warehouse, which measures approximately 40 feet by 100 feet, was allegedly stocked to capacity, floor to ceiling, with cardboard boxes-the vast majority allegedly containing toys bearing the trade- marks of Rovio Entertainment Ltd., the creator of the Angry Bird franchise, Disney Enterprises, Inc., and others.
“The defendants are accused of not running some small mom-andpop operation but, rather, a well-organized business that catered to retailers throughout the metropolitan area,” Brown said in a statement issued on Monday, June 25. “Such trademark counterfeiting defrauds the toy industry of millions of dollars in worldwide revenue and rips off honest consumers who purchase these fake and typically shoddily-made toys. In addition, such piracy deprives the city and state of much needed tax revenue. My office will continue to work to close down these illegal operations and prosecute those involved to the full extent of the law.”
According to the criminal charges, on the morning of Mar. 28, an investigator from Allegiance Protection Group, Inc., a private investigation and security firm, went to J & L Trading’s warehouse, which is accessible via a loading dock or a connecting showroom, and observed numerous toys bearing trademarks of Rovio, Disney and others on display shelves in open cardboard boxes, as well as knapsacks and other toys bearing trademarks.
While there, the investigator is alleged to have met employee Luo, who gave him a business card for his employer, Jiang, who showed up later and identified herself as “Fan Liu.”
The complaint additionally alleges that the Allegiance investigator returned to the warehouse just after midnight on Apr. 6 and said he wanted to make a purchase. Allegedly told by Jiang that he was required to purchase at least six of each item, the investigator selected six knapsacks, 12 watches, six umbrellas, 12 pencil cases, 12 caps, 18 toy cars, twelve action figures, six toy laptops and six toy guns, which Jiang told him would cost $365.
The investigator then allegedly gave Jiang $365 in exchange for the selected items.
It is further alleged that on the af- ternoon of June 11, the Allegiance investigator returned to the J & L warehouse for a prearranged meeting with Jiang to make additional purchases of Rovio and Disney Toys. This time it is alleged that he selected six toy guns, four Angry Bird toys, six train sets, six radio-controlled cars, 12 toy laptops, six action figures, six knapsacks and six yo-yos, which Luo told him would cost $222. The investigator then allegedly gave Luo $220 in exchange for the selected items.
Finally, it is alleged that the investigator contacted Jiang by phone on last Wednesday and arranged to meet her that day at the warehouse. When Jiang was observed entering the warehouse, detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s NYPD Squad executed the search warrant.
It is alleged that merchandise seized during the execution of the warrant, as well as the items purchased on the previous visits, all beared counterfeit registered and active trademarks of Rovio and Disney. It is additionally alleged that many of the products were not products sold by either company or their licensees, and that many of the products were packaged in inferior materials.
The investigation was conducted by Det. James Monaco of the NYPD’s Queens District Attorney’s Squad under the supervision of Sgt. Francis Teran, Lt. Keith Gallagher and Capt. John M. Zanfardino, and the overall supervision of Chief Louis M. Croce, Jr. and Chief of Detectives Phil T. Pulaski.
Assistant District Attorney Morgan A. Goulet, of the District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Assistant District Attorneys Gregory C. Pavlides, bureau chief, and Christina Hanophy, deputy bureau chief, and the overall supervision of Executive District Attorney for Investigations Peter A. Crusco and Deputy Executive Assistant District Attorney for Investigations Linda M. Cantoni.
It was noted that criminal charges are merely an accusation and that defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty.