Three people nabbed in Wantagh counterfeit bust

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Kristin Thorne has the details. (WABC)

Three people were arrested in what police are calling a large-scale counterfeit bust on Long Island on Thanksgiving Day.

The website Lavish Creations says it is an online boutique carrying handmade and store-made merchandise specializing in children's products. But police say much of what was being sold was fake, from purses to watches and children's clothing and shoes.

"They came directly from China, and they were put on her shelves to sell to the consumer," Detective Sergeant Patrick Ryder said.

Police were notified of the alleged trademark counterfeiting business operating in Wantagh over a month ago, and they conducted four undercover buys on November 6, November 12 and two on November 27, with the defendants at a location on Wantagh Avenue in Wantagh.

Two search warrants were issued by the Nassau County Courts, and at 10:30 p.m., a search was conducted in Levitown, where a large quantity of trademark counterfeit merchandise was recovered.

Arrested were 38-year-old Paulo Barbosa and 36-year-old Kristy Barbosa, both of Harrison, New Jersey. Paula Ligotti, 39, of Levittown, was also taken into custody.

Police say Ligotti would ship the items to her home, and then drive them to her pop up store at an office building in Wantagh.

"She would go online and advertise that her business would be open during certain hours at the location," Ryder said.

Police say when they raided the store on Thanksgiving, they found 30 people inside, mostly women. There were also two children. They say they have no doubt the women knew they were buying counterfeit goods, but no one was arrested.

"The reason we don't charge them, we didn't observe their purchase," Ryder said. "No one was in any purchase of any item at that time, so we could not charge them."

Neighbors say Ligotti is just trying to earn a living.

"They're very good people," neighbor Gloria Maricondo. "You couldn't ask for better neighbors. They're a beautiful family."

Prosecutors say they're especially concerned about the children's items, because they could be made with hazardous materials.

Each defendant was charged with four counts of counterfeiting and was arraigned on Friday, November 28, 2014 in First District Court in Hempstead.
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