Nov. 5 (Bloomberg) -- A brother and sister were sentenced to prison for their roles in a counterfeiting ring that brought more than a million fake Trojan condoms into New York City.
Jian Hu, of Queens, New York, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison and three years of supervised release. His sister, Lin Hu, 37, of Temple City, California, was sentenced to 24 months in prison and three years of supervised release.
The siblings pleaded guilty last year before U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan in Brooklyn, New York, to trafficking in counterfeit goods including clothing, power cords and other items. They denied dealing in the counterfeit condoms that other ring members had pleaded guilty to selling.
“This is a major counterfeit operation even without the condoms,” Cogan said. “We’re awash in this country in counterfeit goods. You can go out to Canal Street and see it.”
Cogan said he weighed the public safety risks posed by counterfeit electric cords the siblings had trafficked in and the economic harm posed by fake goods against pleas for leniency based on the fact that the pair were brought into the ring by an older brother, Jian Zhong Hu, who remains a fugitive in China.
“I was stupid and I was blind,” a sobbing Lin told Cogan, saying she regretted the dangers and damages she caused society.
Cogan had sentenced Jian “Jimmy” Wang on Aug. 11 to 37 months in prison for trafficking in more than a million counterfeit Trojan condoms. He was the first of the seven defendants in the case to be sentenced. All pleaded guilty except Jian Zhong Hu, also known as Andy.
The siblings were ordered to pay $14,425.91 in restitution to Polo Ralph Lauren, and $495 to CAPS, Coalition to Advance the Protection of Sports Logos, and barred from working in business involving import-export.
The two were part of a six-year trafficking operation that specialized in counterfeit goods, according to prosecutors in the office of U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch in Brooklyn. They were listed as owners of ZX Trading Corp. in Queens, a sham company used to evade U.S. customs officials, prosecutors said.
Jian Hu and Lin Hu faced maximum sentences of 10 years in prison, said Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Lynch. Lawyers for both defendants requested leniency, asking for either home detention or a prison term of no more than eight months.
Cogan said today that the government had failed to prove the siblings had knowledge that their ring was involved in counterfeit condoms, which were at a separate warehouse from that used by ZX Trading.
Church & Dwight
Cogan also said Church & Dwight Co., which makes Trojan condoms in Virginia, couldn’t prove it was a victim of the siblings. The company can bring a separate case, he noted.
Geoffrey Potter, a lawyer for Church & Dwight, declined to comment.
“I cannot find by a preponderance of evidence that these defendants traded in counterfeit condoms,” the judge said in court today, noting that there was a problem with the government’s evidence and witnesses to support that point.
The case is U.S. v. Hu, 08-cr-425, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).
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