mens ugg boots sale clearance Men avoid prison time in largest counterfeit ring ever prosecuted in U
NEWARK Two Chinese nationals who covertly wired millions of dollars in cash from the the largest counterfeit smuggling ring ever prosecuted in the United States avoided prison time Wednesday when they were sentenced in federal court. District Court Judge Esther Salas.
Both received “a very, very big break” in their sentences, Salas said, as a result of their cooperation in the investigation since their arrests more than four years ago.
The counterfeit items largely handbags, sneakers, other shoes and cigarettes were produced in China and entered the United States in containers at the Port Newark Elizabeth Marine Terminal, according to their criminal complaint.
Twenty nine individuals were charged in the ring as supervisors and manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers and structurers, prosecutors said.
According to Intrater, Zhou, 42, received the cash collected on the sale of the counterfeits and sent it back to China. He was charged with “structuring” the transactions keeping them below $10,000 so that they would not trigger a banking report that could have tipped off the scheme.
The most often seized fake goods in 2015
In all, the two sent between $15 million to $20 million back to China, said Zhou’s attorney,
Zhou, of Bay Shore, Queens, eventually brought his brother in law, Qu, also of Bay Shore, into the conspiracy, Brackley noted. Qu, 36, also was charged with structuring transactions.
While neither Zhou nor Qu were involved in producing counterfeits or smuggling them, their structuring of the cash payments allowed the scheme “to grow in a sort of uncontrolled manner,” Intrater said.
But the two men, who are legal permanent residents of the United States, also tried to earn a living legally, Salas said. Zhou owns a 99 Cent store in the Bronx, at which Qu’s wife works. Both are raising families in Bay Shore.
The judge also took note of the substantial cooperation they offered the government as it prosecuted each case.
Brackley said Zhou even tried to set up a cash exchange business in an attempt to help prosecutors identify other potential smugglers.
Neither had a criminal record before pleading guilty in 2013 and both have since stayed out of trouble,
Salas said in deciding to spare them from prison time.
Both apologized to the court. A sobbing Qu told Salas of his deep regret for being involved in the scheme and his intention to be a law abiding person.