WASHINGTON, D.C.- Ten search warrants were executed and nine people were arrested today in the District of Columbia, Virginia, and Maryland, on federal charges of conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods, including luxury handbags and wallets, movies, and sound recordings, in the largest crackdown to date on counterfeit goods in the District of Columbia.
Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher; U.S. Attorney Kenneth Wainstein for the District of Columbia; Assistant Director in Charge Michael A. Mason of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Chief Charles Ramsey of the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department, and Judith Jagman, Attorney General for the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that search warrants were executed today upon four businesses in the District of Columbia and three residences in Virginia and Maryland, as well as one storage facility and two vehicles, and that nine individuals were arrested for conspiring to traffic in counterfeit goods.
“Wholesale distributors of counterfeit goods are the principal suppliers to the local underground economy created by street sales of counterfeit merchandise,” said Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher. “Today’s action shows that, when Federal, State and local law enforcement are brought to bear, these illegal distribution rackets can be shut down.”
The District of Columbia businesses searched today are YY Enterprises, 1225 4th Street, N.E.; Wazir Marble & General Merchandise, 1329 4th Street, N.E.; Gifts Unlimited, 1345A 4th Street, N.E.; and Lai Wholesale, 1335 4th Street, N.E. YY Enterprises is alleged to be a wholesale distributor of counterfeit and copyright infringing movie DVDs and other audio and video works, and of other counterfeit goods. Wazir Marble & General Merchandise; Gifts Unlimited; and Lai Wholesale are alleged to be wholesale distributors of luxury counterfeit goods, including handbags, shoes, wallets, belts, and hats.
U.S. Attorney Wainstein stated, "Traffickers in counterfeit goods make money at the direct expense of honest American workers and entrepreneurs. Today's sweep demonstrates that these traffickers are criminals, and that they can expect arrest and incarceration if they conduct their trade in the District of Columbia."
Those arrested today in connection with the illegal activities of these businesses are Qiyao Yuan, age 43, of Lanham, Maryland; Ping Chen, age 45, of Falls Church, Virginia; Cecilia Rodriguez, age 24, of Silver Spring, Maryland; Abdul Jalil Waziry, age 28, of McLean, Virginia; Qudrat Ullah Waziry, age 24, of McLean, Virginia; Ismael Mohammed Waziry, age 45, of McLean, Virginia; Habibullah Karwan, age 55, of Alexandria, Virginia; Lirong Zhuang, age 30, of Laurel, Maryland; and Lan Ma, age 33, of Hyattsville, Maryland. Each is charged in a criminal complaint with conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 371 and 2320.
If convicted of conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, those arrested today face a maximum sentence of five years in prison, a fine of $250,000, and restitution to the victims.
These cases are being investigated by the Washington, D.C., Metropolitan Police Department; the Federal Bureau of Investigation; and the Virginia Office of the Attorney General. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John Carlin in the District of Columbia's Computer Hacking and Intellectual Property Unit, and by Trial Attorney Corbin Weiss of the Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Justice Department's Criminal Division.
The details in the criminal complaints are allegations. The defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.
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