Counterfeit health and beauty products arrests on Long Island

Kristin Thorne has the details from Valley Stream, LI.
March 7, 2014 2:48:43 PM PST
Authorities say they have taken down a major counterfeiting operation in five locations across Nassau County.

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said $2 million worth of fake health and beauty products were seized Thursday.

The products are facsimiles of major international brands owned by Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Two brothers from Franklin Square and Plainview, Pardeep Malik and Hamant Mullick, are accused of running the sophisticated operation in facilities in Franklin Square, Oceanside, Freeport and a showroom in Valley Stream.

Prosecutors say they sold the products to distributors who sold to smaller independent stores.

Investigators are running lab tests to ascertain whether any of the counterfeit goods have any health risks.

The operation came to light after a fire in April. When fire officials went back to investigate, they discovered the alleged ring.

The fake products include Vicks Vaporub, baby oil, Vaseline, Chapstick and inhalers.

"These products have been found to turn up in retail locations in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida," said Rice.

The suspects' families were in court today but didn't want to speak with us. Their attorneys did however.

"He's maintaing his innocence on this," said attorney Michael Brown.

"There is in essence an attempt to clump him in with activites he had nothing to do with," said attorney Steve Christiansen.

Five tips to identify a fake

First look for obvious signs - a strange picture on the package, strange languages, strange colors.

If the price you paid for the product was atypically low, without any kind of coupon or special promotion, then it may be illegitimate.

Counterfeit products will not have the same quality or consistency of real products.

Try to shop at established and trusted stores which are highly likely to be connected to legitimate supply chains.

Members of the public who suspect they may have purchased a counterfeit product are urged to contact Nassau County's Economic Crimes Bureau at 516-571-3505.