LAWFUEL – Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United Sta…

LAWFUEL – Law News Network – R. Alexander Acosta, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Thomas S. Winkowski, Director, Field Operations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced that defendants Ji Wu Chen and Meihua Li were sentenced today to more than seven years in federal prison.

On June 9, 2006, Chen and Li were found guilty by a federal jury of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and concealing and selling imported counterfeit goods. Today, Federal District Court Judge Jose E. Martinez sentenced Ji Wu Chen to ninety-seven months and Meihua Li to eighty-seven months in federal prison.

According to the evidence presented at trial, the defendants conspired to traffic in, and did actually traffic in, goods violating trademarks. These goods included electrical cords, batteries, handbags, wallets, suitcases, shoes, hats, sunglasses, watches, key holders, umbrellas, and different items of clothing and accessories bearing the counterfeit trademarks of Underwriters Laboratories, Duracell, Louis Vuitton, Rolex, Prada, Gucci, Coach, Disney, Nike, Major League Baseball, Oakley, and others. The defendants imported counterfeit trademarked goods from China to their home and warehouse. The defendants then sold these counterfeit products directly from their warehouse as well as from their booth at the Opa-Locka Flea Market.

On December 13, 2005, ICE agents and officers from the Miami-Dade Police Department, pursuant to arrest and search warrants, arrested the defendants and conducted searches of their home, warehouse, and flea market booths. The quantity of counterfeit items seized filled several tractor trailers. The items seized included counterfeit clothing and clothing accessories, and untested and potentially hazardous electrical cords and batteries.

United States Attorney Acosta stated, “The lengthy prison sentences imposed by the Court is a direct reflection of the seriousness of this crime and of the potential safety hazard posed by the sale of counterfeit items, included untested and unsafe electrical cords. In this and every case, the sale of fake goods exposes unwary consumers to potentially serious physical harm.”

“Today’s sentence is a reflection of ICE’s commitment to protect the American consumer from inferior and unsafe products,” said Jesus Torres, Special Agent in Charge of ICE in Miami. “We will continue to pursue these counterfeiters who not only compromise our economy, but more importantly, the safety of our citizens.”

Mr. Acosta commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection, as well as the assistance provided by the Miami-Dade Police Department. This case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Jason Emilios Dimitris and Karlyn Hunter.

A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at http://www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

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