2004-12-24 / Community

DA, NYPD Grab Knock-Offs At Aqueduct Flea Market

The Queens District Attorney joined the New York City Police Department and the New York State Police in busting a ring that sold knock-off clothing and accessories at the Aqueduct Flea Market a facility often used by Rockaway residents seeking a bargain.

Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown, joined by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and Superintendent of State Police Wayne E. Bennett, recently announced the arrest of seventeen vendors and the seizure of thousands of items of trademark counterfeit merchandise including jackets, coats, hats, jeans and sunglasses fraudulently marked with famous brand names including Tommy Hillfiger, North Face, Timberland, Polo, Calvin Klein, Guess and Gucci following a weekend raid at Aqueduct Race Track’s flea market in South Ozone Park, Queens.

Brown said that detectives seized over 9,000 separate counterfeit items of merchandise that were being offered at a fraction of the retail value of authentic items which if sold legitimately would have a retail value of over $1.3 million.

Brown added, “The Aqueduct flea market attracts tens of thousands of shoppers from the metropolitan area who shop for brand name merchandise at bargain prices, especially during this holiday shopping season. Invariably, what they get from some disreputable vendors is counterfeit merchandise *- items of inferior quality that mimic but fail to match the actual trademarked product. Trademark counterfeiting is a multi-billion dollar industry that cheats legitimate retail outlets and businesses which cannot compete, consumers who end up buying inferior quality products and City and State government which does not receive payment of much needed sales taxes.”

Police Commissioner Kelly said, “New York City is a shopping destination for people from all over the world and it is imperative that we ensure that vendors at every level are truly selling what they claim.  This case identified a counterfeit merchandise stream through the Aqueduct Race Track’s flea market and stopped the flow. I want to thank all of our officers for their hard work, as well as the District Attorney’s office for its cooperation.”

According to a spokesperson for District Attorney, trademark counterfeiting in 2003 in New York City was a $23 billion industry that resulted in over $1.03 billion in lost tax revenues, including $380 million in unpaid sales taxes, $290 million in unpaid business income taxes and $360 million in unpaid personal income taxes.  The City and State together lost $2.6 billion in tax revenues.

Brown said, “The loss of the sales tax revenue is especially troublesome because it creates a greater burden on individuals and businesses to make up the difference.  With an extra couple of billion dollars, we New Yorkers could resolve our fiscal crisis and have more police officers on our streets and better schools in our neighborhoods.”

Teams of detectives assigned to the DA’s squad raided a dozen booths at the flea market early Saturday, December 18, 2004 and recovered over 9,000 separate counterfeit trademark items including 4,200 pieces of wearing apparel, 3,000 CDs and 2,030 DVDs.

The District Attorney’s office identified the defendants as: - Mohammed Mansour, 38, 7720 5th Avenue, Brooklyn; - Ali Alawai, 34, 1665 79th Street, Brooklyn; - John Leal, 19, 207 Eldert Street, Brooklyn; - Wahiba Alaouie, 41, 8608 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn; - Moussa Alaouie, 19, 8608 3rd Avenue, Brooklyn; - Anwar Abdelgader, 45, 105-29 63rd Avenue, Forest Hills; - Yashwant Sahadeo, 22, 95-77 112th Street, Richmond Hill; - Surendra Datnarain, 26, 87-21 98th Street, Woodhaven; -Tamer Zaben, 20, 153-41 78th Street, Howard Beach; - Man Hui, 44, 41-47 55th Street, Woodside; - Elcheikhari Nasser Ali, 37, 11619 N. 51st Street, Tampa, Florida; - Kamal Syed, 38, 45-10 Parsons Boulevard, Flushing; - Mohamed Dib, 19, 593 57th Street, West New York, New Jersey; - Masood Malick, 45-85 168th Street, Flushing; - Deopersaud Ramdihal, 27, 97-15 129th Street, Richmond Hill; - Mohammad Cheikhall, 41, 10 Ocean Parkway, Brooklyn; - Javier Lopez, 21, 980 Hancock Street, Brooklyn

The defendants have been variously charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree, failure to display a vendor license and violation of the New York State Tax Law.  They face up to four years in prison if convicted.

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