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Post date: January 17 2014

A.G. Schneiderman & NYS Tax Commissioner Mattox Announce Charges Against Counterfeit Goods Dealers

Schneiderman: Counterfeiting Robs Legitimate Businesses Of Customers And Costs Taxpayers Billions Of Dollars Each Year

NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman and New York State Commissioner of Taxation and Finance Thomas H. Mattox today announced the arrest and arraignment of Chen Zhibin, 49, and Yun Wei Huang, 47, of College Point, New York, for operating a retail business selling counterfeit copies of designer handbags and watches. The individuals, who are married, were charged with one count of Criminal Tax Fraud in the Fourth Degree, a Class E Felony, and one count of Trademark Counterfeiting in the First Degree, a Class C Felony. They were arraigned last night before the Honorable Anthony Ferrara in Manhattan Criminal Court. 

Zhibin and Huang ran Mendi Gift Shop, located at 251A Canal Street in Manhattan. They displayed counterfeit high-end designer goods for sale, offered at discount prices. These goods displayed the registered trademarks of well-known brands such as Hermes, Rolex, Michael Kors, Celine, Chanel, Ray Ban, Prada, Coach, Hublot, Tory Burch, Gucci, Oakley and more. None of the items were the authentic items they purported to be and were not manufactured by the legitimate manufacturers. Instead, they were substantially similar copies bearing the registered trademarks of these manufacturers, but of very low quality.

“Counterfeiting is a serious crime that robs legitimate, well-known businesses of customers and costs taxpayers billions of dollars in revenue each year,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “Counterfeiters like these deserve to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law and taken off the streets.”

"The trafficking and sale of counterfeit goods is a criminal activity that victimizes honest New Yorkers," said Commissioner Mattox. "Contraband traffickers and sellers are now on notice that the New York State Tax Department will work with all levels of law enforcement to end these crimes and bring the criminals to justice."   

Further, Zhibin and Huang underreported both their corporate income and their personal income to avoid paying sales taxes and income taxes to New York State. While reporting combined earnings of only $30,000 annually, Zhibin and Huang own two residences in College Point, as well as three vehicles – a BMW X5, a BMW 550, and a Honda Civic. 

If convicted, the defendants face up to 25 years in state prison.

The Attorney General would like to thank Risa Sugarman, Deputy Commissioner of the Criminal Investigations Division, and Christopher Ammirati, Director of Investigations, of the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

This investigation was handled by Investigator Andrew Scala, under the supervision of Chief Dominick Zarella. The criminal case is being prosecuted by Senior Counsel Thomas Schellhammer, under the supervision of Executive Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Justice Kelly Donovan.