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Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes doesn’t get upset over too many things.
But don’t ask him about people who use our Commander in Chief to market footwear.
“It’s frankly just disrespectful to have the President of the United States depicted on a sneaker,” Hynes told reporters Friday as he announced the closing of a wide−ranging counterfeit goods operation that sold “Yes We Can” sneakers. The President’s face can be found near the sneaker’s heel.
But the six people arrested at the Stop and Stor facility on 63rd Street near Fifth Avenue where the sneakers were found were not arrested for poor taste, but for allegedly buying and selling counterfeit goods.
Raids on 120 storage units inside the facility, which was described as an alleged “citywide hub” for bogus goods, turned up 100,000 pieces of counterfeit merchandise, including designer bags and shoes, with the brand names Chanel, Dolce & Gabbana, Dooney & Bourke, and True Religion.
The seizure and arrests came after a year−long investigation during which an undercover D.A. investigator rented a storage room and posed as a dealer in counterfeit goods, Hynes explained.
Once entrenched, the undercover detective purchased items including fake Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada and Coach handbags, as well as Diesel jeans, Nike sneakers, Affliction T−shirts, Ed Hardy T−shirts, and Timberland boots.
They also witnessed thousands of knockoff Nike sneakers delivered to, and sold from, the storage facility daily, officials alleged.
Many of the counterfeit goods were manufactured in China and smuggled into the United States.
They were then transported to the storage facility where dealers stored and sold goods, the D.A.’s office alleged. Retailers allegedly came from across the city to make wholesale purchases, officials learned.
“In these tough economic times, people deserve to know that, when they spend money, the goods they buy are real,” Hynes explained. “Selling counterfeit products cheats customers out of a right to know what they are buying and cheats manufacturers out of their fair earnings.”
Prosecutors said that two suspects, identified as 39−year−old Kai Fong Chen and 24−year−old Min Min Zheng, were charged with trademark counterfeiting in the second degree, a misdemeanor.
Four others, identified as Cheng Jun Lin, 43; Lian Min Guo, 34; Jian C. Lan, 45; and Xia S. Dong, 33, have been charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the third degree.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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