Importing counterfeit headphones and criminal charges

Sometimes importing counterfeit goods lands you in a lot more trouble than just paying a customs penalty (1x or 2x the MSRP of the counterfeits as if they were genuine). In some cases, the importers of counterfeits end up facing criminal charges, fines and imprisonment. In this news release (HERE) from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) the importer was importing counterfeit Beats by Dre headphones into the United States and having them shipped to different addresses in his area.

What is interesting about this story is how quickly he was arrested — his (illegal) business was only in operation about 8 months. I hear from many people who believe that small quantities or importations for  a short period of time of counterfeits might not get them in much trouble. This case stands against that proposition. Here’s some details from the story:

A Vietnamese national legally residing in Houston was arrested Friday on charges of conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods, announced U.S. Attorney Kenneth Magidson, Southern District of Texas.

The indictment alleges [the defendant] was the CEO of NPC Enterprises, and that he allegedly conspired to traffic in counterfeit Beats products from June 2013 through February 2014. Chen allegedly imported counterfeit Beats products from China and Honk Kong to numerous addresses in the Houston area. The indictment alleges he then took these products to a location on Afton Street, which he used as his warehouse and distributing center.

The total value of counterfeit products alleged in the indictment exceeds $560,000.If convicted, Chen faces up to 10 years in federal prison and a possible $2 million fine.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles: