$1B worth of knockoffs taken by authorities in New York in largest US counterfeit goods seizure

2 charged with trafficking the knockoffs consisting of handbags, shoes and other luxury merchandise

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Thursday, November 16, 2023
Authorities seize over $1 billion in counterfeit goods
Two men were arrested in the counterfeit good bust.

MANHATTAN, New York (WPVI) -- Two men were arrested Wednesday and charged in connection with what federal prosecutors described as the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history.

The 219,000 counterfeit bags, clothes, shoes and other luxury products seized were worth more than $1 billion, prosecutors said.

Adama Sow and Abdulaj Jalloh were indicted on charges of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

"As alleged, the defendants used a Manhattan storage facility as a distribution center for massive amounts of knock-off designer goods. The seizures announced today consist of merchandise with over a billion dollars in estimated retail value, the largest-ever seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

According to the indictment, Sow and Jalloh ran counterfeit goods trafficking operations out of a storage facility located in Manhattan.

Photographs released by prosecutors showed shelves stacked with counterfeit wallets and bags in one location and handbags hanging from hooks from floor to ceiling in another.

Sow, 38, of Queens, and Jalloh, 48, of Manhattan, are each charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.

"Today's groundbreaking announcement underscores the unwavering commitment of HSI New York in the fight against intellectual property theft and serves as a testament to the dedication of our team and partner agencies, who have tirelessly pursued justice, culminating in the largest-ever seizure of this kind, said Special Agent in Charge Ivan Arvelo of Homeland Security Investigations.

The Associated Press contributed to this post.