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Four Sentenced in $200 Million Smuggling Operation

LawFuel.com – July 29, 2009 – LEV L. DASSIN, the Acting United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, announced that MICHAEL CHU, a/k/a “Michael Choi,” a/k/a “Schuching M. Chu,” a/k/a “Shu Ching
Chu,” a/k/a “Michael Shuching Chu,” was sentenced yesterday to 97
months in prison for his leadership role in a criminal ring that
smuggled massive quantities of counterfeit goods through the Port
Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal (“Port Newark”) in Elizabeth,
New Jersey. ROBIN HUFF, formerly a licensed customs broker, was
sentenced today to 70 months in prison for helping CHU and other
members of the ring evade border and security measures at Port
Newark. HSI FENG LI, a/k/a “The General,” a/k/a “Xue Feng Li,”
62, of Brooklyn, New York, was sentenced today to 33 months in
prison for his role in the operation, and DICK ONG, 58, of
Bergenfield, New Jersey, who tracked CHU’s containers and
arranged for their pickup at Port Newark, was sentenced today to
one year of probation. All four sentences were imposed by United
States District Judge DENNY CHIN.

According to public filings and statements made in
Manhattan federal court: CHU, 72, of Manhattan, HUFF, 47, of Brooklyn, New York, together with eight others, were charged in December 2007
following a long-term investigation into a scheme to smuggle more
than one hundred 40-foot-long industrial shipping containers of
counterfeit goods through Port Newark. As part of this scheme,
CHU and his co-conspirators paid more than $500,000 in cash
bribes to an undercover federal agent posing as a corrupt
longshoreman’s union official able to clear cargo through federal
customs and border security measures. HUFF monitored the status
of CHU’s incoming containers at Port Newark through an electronic
cargo database that border officials make available to customs
brokers. The estimated value of the counterfeit merchandise,
based on the manufacturer’s suggested retail price for the
genuine articles, exceeds $200 million.

Earlier in the case, JUDGE CHIN sentenced co-defendant
WING KI LEE, a/k/a “Joe,” to 60 months in prison on October 6,
2008; and co-defendants MAN WAI CHENG, a/k/a “Man Wei Chen,”
a/k/a “Tina Wong,” and CHI ONG WONG, a/k/a “Tommy Wong,” each to
3 years of probation on December 4, 2008. Sentencing remains
pending for codefendants GRACE QUEZON, a/k/a “Charmaine Dabao,”
YEE KHIONG TING, a/k/a “Mr. Ding,” a/k/a “Paul Ding,” and TROY
KING.

Mr. DASSIN praised the investigative work of the
Newark, New Jersey Field Office of the Department of Homeland
Security’s U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and thanked
the New York Field Office, U.S. Customs and Border Protection for
its cooperation.

Assistant United States Attorney NICHOLAS S. GOLDIN is
in charge of the prosecution.

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