6 charged with selling counterfeit trademarked clothing

October 30, 2013 5:28:05 PM PDT
Six men have been indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on charges of selling millions of dollars worth of counterfeit trademarked clothing.

The six allegedly sold from the brands Polo, Lacoste, North Face, and True Religion to smaller distributors, who sold the goods throughout the United States.

In July, authorities recovered more than 2,000 boxes of trademark counterfeit clothing at a storage facility in Queens linked to the suspects.

The clothing is estimated to have a street value of more than $3.2 million and a manufacturers' suggested retail price for the genuine product of more than $13.4 million.

The six, Ali Chahine, 43, Imad Elcheikhali, 48, Wassim Faisal, 44, Haissam Saleh, 28, Mehdi Saleh, 37, and Kassem Tohme, 40, are charged with Trademark Counterfeiting and Conspiracy.

"Counterfeit goods are of inferior quality. They are often unsafe, unregulated, and of unknown provenance," said Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr. "Buying them may appear on the surface to be a bargain, but it harms all of us in the long run. As the holiday season approaches, I want to advise shoppers to avoid counterfeit goods, because purchasing them can carry serious hidden costs."

"We were concerned about this operation not only because it was cheating New Yorkers but also because of indications that proceeds were sent to areas in Southern Lebanon of concern to the Intelligence Bureau," said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Elcheikhal, Faisal, Saleh and Chahine have been taken into custody, while the other two suspects remain fugitives.