Around 219,000 pieces of counterfeit clothing, shoes, bags and other luxury products were taken from a Manhattan storage facility in the largest counterfeit goods seizure in U.S. history.
If the goods had been real, their retail price would have been around $1.03 billion, setting the seizure record. Knock-off goods invariably fetch much less than that on the street, while still turning a handsome profit for the fraudsters.
In its announcement of the bust Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York accused two men of operating a fake goods operation out of the raided storage facility.
Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jalloh, alias Troy Banks, 48, have been arrested and indicted on one charge each of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The USAO-SDNY also alleges that Mr. Jalloh used an additional offsite location for the purported counterfeit goods scheme, which they say ran from about January through Oct. 20.
If Mr. Sow and Mr. Jalloh are convicted, each faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
“We will not allow opportunists to convert public warehouses into their own illegal shopping centers, or to wreak havoc on the streets of New York City, nor will we relent in our efforts to combat transnational criminal organizations smuggling these items through our borders,” Homeland Security Investigations New York Special Agent-in-Charge Ivan Arvelo said in a statement, according to the New York Post.