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Two get prison for smuggling counterfeit goods into L.A. County

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Man gets 31 months in federal prison for $2.3-million smuggling scheme for luxury clothes, handbags
Counterfeit luxury goods smuggled by two men included Mercedes AMG, BMW, Chanel, Gucci, feds say

A San Gabriel Valley businessman was sentenced Thursday to 31 months in federal prison for his scheme to import more than $2.3 million worth of popular and luxury counterfeit goods, prosecutors said. 

Kevin "Peter" Wang, 54, of Rosemead pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods. He'll also serve an additional six months of home detention and pay a fine and restitution totaling $60,000. U.S. District Judge John A. Kronstadt oversaw the proceeding, a news release read.

From 2008 to 2012, prosecutors say, Wang helped Chinese exporters smuggle in counterfeit Nike shoes, NFL, NBA and NHL jerseys, and fake Coach, Gucci and Louis Vuitton handbags. 

The items -- labeled as "garment hangers" and "toilet paper" -- were shipped in 11 containers through the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. 

Claude Arnold, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement special agent in charge of the investigation, noted in a statement that trafficking in counterfeit merchandise is a multibillion-dollar global business.

Wang's was the second counterfeiting case in two weeks to result in prison time.

On April 28, 37-year-old Hamlet Ayvazyan was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay a $4,000 fine for smuggling in counterfeit AMG-brand wheel rims from China to his business, Speedvision Motorsport in Glendale. 

In January 2012, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials discovered Ayvazyan's import container with 430 wheels with fake Mercedes Benz "AMG" logos inside. A month later, agents found thousands of adhesive logos and wheel center caps with replica markings of Mercedes and BMW. 

Arnold said in a statement that authorities were committed to dismantling the counterfeiting schemes "because the profits from such illegal ventures often go to fund more criminal enterprises."

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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