New Jersey authorities report that five people have pleaded guilty in connection to what’s believed to be one of history’s largest counterfeit goods smuggling operations.
The five individuals were among 29 people charged when the $325 million counterfeit ring was taken down and revealed by federal officials in March 2012. The gang were dealing in a number of counterfeit clothes and accessories, including Burberry scarves and Gucci, Coach and Louis Vuitton handbags in addition to large amounts of contraband drugs, from August 2008 until their arrest in March 2012. These goods, if legitimate, are believed to have had a retail value of more than $300 million.
Yi Jian Chen, 53, and Hui Huang, 33, both of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Ning Guo, 40, of China, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods before U.S. District Judge Esther Salas in federal court in Newark. Guo also pleaded guilty to one count of money laundering conspiracy. Two others — Jian Zhi Mo, 45, of Flushing, N.Y., and Yuan Feng Lai, 28, of New York City —also pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods in court on 12 August. Each defendant faces up to 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine on the conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods charge. Guo faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 on the money laundering charge. All five defendants are scheduled to be sentenced Nov. 25.