By Jonathan Sperling
Just don’t do it.
A Middle Village man was sentenced to 30 months in prison on Friday after he was busted attempting to smuggle knockoff apparel, including fake Nike sneakers and UGG boots, from China into the United States, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said.
Su Ming Ling, 50, pleaded guilty in January 2018 to one count of fraudulent importation and transportation of goods and one count of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods relating to a scheme in which he and several co-conspirators imported more than 200 shipping containers of counterfeit brand-name apparel from China.
In addition to his prison sentence, Ling was ordered to pay $12,905.67 in restitution.
“With today’s sentence, Ling has been held responsible for illegally importing millions of dollars’ worth of knockoff goods that displace consumer demand for companies’ genuine products,” stated United States Attorney for the EDNY Richard P. Donoghue. “This Office is committed to prosecuting counterfeit traffickers like the defendant whose criminal conduct causes harm to the American economy.”
Inside the 211 shipping containers confiscated by authorities were an array of counterfeit goods that imitated Nike shoes, UGG boots and NFL jerseys. All in all, the counterfeit apparel smuggled by Ling and his crew between May 2013 and January 2017 would have netted an estimated $297 million if sold as genuine, according to court filings. The goods were sold across Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.
In order to further the scheme, Ling used phony aliases to register and create numerous internet domain names and email addresses designed to resemble the internet domain names of actual U.S. businesses. He also hired U.S. Customs and Border Patrol-licensed brokers to file customs entry forms on behalf of the businesses whose identities had been stolen and provided those customs brokers with falsified shipping documents.
“Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) is committed to ensuring the integrity of the legitimate trade, travel and financial systems of the United States,” HSI Special Agent-in-Charge Brian Michael said in a statement. “This defendant smuggled massive amounts of counterfeit goods into the country, harming legitimate businesses and shortchanging consumers who thought they were getting authentic products. HSI aggressively targets transnational criminal organizations that profit from smuggling counterfeit merchandise, seizing their illicit goods and arresting those responsible.”
The government’s case is being handled by the Office’s National Security and Cybercrime Section. Assistant United States Attorneys Ian C. Richardson and Alexander Mindlin are in charge of the prosecution.