(USNewsBreak.com) – Many people love the look of luxury items but not the price tag. In fact, many people can’t afford to pay the exorbitant costs for a handbag, belt, or dress bearing the name of a famous designer. Enter counterfeiters. Despite the practice being illegal, some people go looking for similar copies of the products they covet either online from disreputable sellers or on the streets of New York City. Authorities regularly work to keep these products off the streets, and their efforts recently paid off big time.
On Wednesday, November 15, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York issued a press release detailing the seizure of around 219,000 counterfeit items with a retail value of more than $1 billion. During the seizure, they identified two suspects who were subsequently indicted on charges of trafficking. The defendants, Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jalloh (also known as Troy Banks), 48, were arrested the same day the release went out.
The indictment alleges that both Sow and Jalloh “ran large-scale counterfeit goods trafficking operations” from a Manhattan storage facility and one off-site location. In one property, allegedly run by Sow, they seized more than $502 million worth of goods. Another search of premises run by Jalloh resulted in the confiscation of accessories with an MSRP of more than $237 million. The actual street value of the products is much less, but authorities use the MSRP prices to judge value in theft.
The two reportedly ran the operations from January through October. The seizure is the largest ever recorded in US history.
According to the press release, NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said the trafficking “is anything but a victimless crime,” noting that it harms businesses, customers, and governments. He said the NYPD “will continue to work hard” to hold those who traffic knock-off goods accountable.
If Sow and Jalloh are found guilty of the charge against them, they face a maximum of 10 years in prison.
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