SAN FRANCISCO – LAWFUEL – Legal News Network – United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan announced that a federal grand jury in San Francisco returned a superseding indictment against Nancy Pua, Johnny Lee Tan, and Kevin Pua all of Daly City, California, on Tuesday, October 17, 2006 related to a scheme to sell counterfeit designer merchandise, including handbags, on the internet auction site eBay and at a storefront in Richmond, California. The initial indictment in the case was returned in January 2006.
The indictment returned in January 2006 charged Nancy Pua and her son Kevin Pua with one count of conspiracy, eight counts of mail fraud, five counts of wire fraud, and numerous counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods. Johnny Lee Tan, who was alleged in the indictment to be Nancy Pua’s brother, was charged with one count of conspiracy and one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The superseding indictment alleges that Ms. Pua, 49, operated an eBay auction business out of a residence in Daly City, California and a business known as “Label Love” in Richmond, California. Both Mr. Pua, 27, and Mr. Tan, 45, are alleged to have been employed by Ms. Pua in her businesses. The defendants hosted eBay auctions for “designer” handbags, representing that the handbags were authentic items bearing the trademarks of manufacturers such as Prada, Christian Dior and Gucci. However, the superseding indictment alleges that the handbags bore counterfeit trademarks. The merchandise sold on eBay was similar to the merchandise offered for sale at Label Love.
In addition to the charges previously alleged in the January 2006 initial indictment, the superseding indictment returned on October 17, 2006, also charges Ms. Pua and Mr. Tan with conspiracy to commit money laundering and money laundering. Ms. Pua and Mr. Tan and others established several bank accounts, into which proceeds from the sale of counterfeit goods were deposited. These accounts were held in the names of Ms. Pua’s businesses, Johnny Tan and in a nominee name. As directed by Ms. Pua, money orders and checks were deposited into the nominee bank account. Funds from the nominee account were withdrawn via check and deposited into an account in the name of Johnny Tan. Within a few days, a check was drawn from the Johnny Tan account and deposited into one of Ms. Pua’s business accounts. In addition, from about January 2002 to December 2003, Ms. Pua wired more than $2 million from one of her business bank accounts to accounts in Switzerland, China and Malta with the intent to promote the sale of counterfeit goods.
Ms. Pua was arrested on a warrant issued based on the initial indictment at Los Angeles International Airport on February 16, 2006, upon her return to the United States from abroad. She was later released on bond by Northern District of California Magistrate Judge Bernard Zimmerman. Mr. Pua and Mr. Tan were arrested in Daly City, California, on February 16, 2006, on arrest warrants relating to the initial indictment and made their initial appearances before Magistrate Judge Maria-Elena James in federal court in San Francisco on February 17, 2006. Mr. Pua and Mr. Tan were released on $250,000 unsecured bonds the same day.
The maximum statutory penalty for most of the counts of mail fraud and wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1341 and 1343 is 20 years imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. (However, because one violation of each of the mail fraud and wire fraud statutes is alleged to have occurred prior to passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the maximum term of imprisonment for each of those counts is only 5 years.) The maximum penalty for the conspiracy count in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 is 5 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $250,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum penalty for the counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2320(a) is 10 years’ imprisonment and a fine of $2,000,000, plus restitution if appropriate. The maximum statutory penalty for the counts of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h) (conspiracy) and 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i) (money laundering — concealment) is 20 years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction (whichever is greater). Similarly, the maximum statutory penalty for the counts of transporting funds overseas to promote unlawful activity in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(2)(A) is 20 years’ imprisonment, and a fine of $500,000, or twice the value of the property involved in the transaction (whichever is greater). However, any sentence following conviction would be imposed by the court after consideration of the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and the federal statute governing the imposition of a sentence, 18 U.S.C. § 3553.
An indictment contains only allegations against an individual and, as with all defendants, Ms. Pua, Mr. Tan and Mr. Pua must be presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
The prosecution is being overseen by the Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property (CHIP) Unit of the U.S. Attorney’s Office and is the result of an investigation by inspectors of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service , special agents of Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Kyle F. Waldinger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney in the CHIP Unit who is prosecuting the case.
Case #: CR 06-0030 JSW
A copy of this press release may be found on the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s website at www.usdoj.gov/usao/can.
Electronic court filings and further procedural and docket information are available at https://ecf.cand.uscourts.gov/ (click on the link for “to retrieve documents from the court”).
Judges’ calendars with schedules for upcoming court hearings can be viewed on the court’s website at www.cand.uscourts.gov.
All press inquiries to the U.S. Attorney’s Office should be directed to Luke Macaulay at (415) 436-6757 or by email at [email protected]