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July 24 , 2003

D.A. Dillon Announces Arrests In Sale Of Fake Designer Merchandise

Nassau County District Attorney Denis Dillon announced today that 14 people have been arrested and approximately $750,000 in merchandise seized as the result of an undercover investigation into the sale of counterfeit items purportedly made by top designers.

"As we begin the holiday shopping season," Dillon said, "these arrests should put consumers on alert: you don't always get what you think you are paying for."

According to Dillon, "This investigation began in September of this year when a detective from the District Attorney's Squad of the Nassau County Police Department was approached about purchasing some quality fake Louis Vuitton merchandise. The detective contacted Louis Vuitton, and was put in touch with Abacus Investigations and Security, an authorized representative of Louis Vuitton and most top designers. Upon learning that Abacus Security had received other complaints about stores in Nassau County selling counterfeit merchandise, we opened an investigation.

"Our investigators began visiting stores in Nassau County and purchasing counterfeit merchandise purportedly made by such top designers as Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Fendi. They also observed items purportedly made by Burberry, Hermes, Rolex, Gucci, and Cartier, which they also believed to be counterfeit. Eventually each such location was searched and the counterfeit merchandise seized.

"Counterfeiting is a criminal offence and is highly detrimental to customers, companies and governments in terms of product quality, employment and taxes," said Jean-Marc Gallot, CEO of Louis Vuitton North America. "At Louis Vuitton, we are fully dedicated to the protection of the brand. The safeguarding of our intellectual property is significantly enhanced by partnerships like this with the District Attorney of Nassau County. We would like to congratulate Denis Dillon and the District Attorney's Squad of the Nassau County Police Department and thank them for such a successful investigation which has led not only to the seizure of the counterfeit items but also to the arrest of all store owners who in their majority bought for resale counterfeits from the Canal Street booths." (For further information, please contact Laura Accettella, media contact for Louis Vuitton North America, at 212-521-4859.)

Dillon also expressed his thanks to the Nassau County Police Department's Crimes Against Property squad for its assistance in the investigation.

Those arrested at their stores were:
Fariba Nabatkhorian, 41, owner of Kesslord Bags, 27 Glen Cove Road, Greenvale.
Michael Klein, 45, and Linda Klein, 42, owners of Michael Klein, 82 Main St., Mineola.
Phyllis Freeman, 75, owner of a concession called Jewelry by Phyllis, located inside a business called Le Salon, 272 Hillside Avenue, Williston Park.
Lu Xiaowen, 34, and Chiang Pi Fong, 49, who work at the Designer Collection kiosk at The Source mall in Westbury.
Zheng Wen Zhong, 34, owner of Lucky Nail Salon, 258 Jericho Turnpike, Floral Park.
Alyssa Reichel, 33, owner of a concession, Ego Trip, located inside Capellini Salon and Day Spa, 964 Broadway, Woodmere.

In addition, the following individuals were arrested November 14 at Island Vendors flea market, 3965 Long Beach Road, Island Park, where they owned stores:
Steven Kanter, 55, owner of Sue's Handbags.
Caroline Kalphat, 24, owner of Unique Boothtique..
Joseph Fackler, 37, owner of J.F. Discounts.
Catherine Pappalardo, 51, owner of Dakota's.
Chong Yu, 67, owner of Charlie's.
Yesterday, November 18, Kuihuang Yin, 35, was arrested as he tried to sell counterfeit merchandise on the sidewalk outside a toy store in Carle Place.

All the defendants have been charged with Trademark Counterfeiting in the Second Degree, a Class E Felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.