NEW YORK — Law enforcement officials seized more than $1 billion in knockoff merchandise being peddled out of a Manhattan storage unit in what federal prosecutors said Wednesday was the largest-ever counterfeit goods scam in U.S. history.
Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jalloh, 48, were arrested in the nine-month scam, in which they allegedly stocked storage units at Gotham Mini Storage with hundreds of thousands of counterfeit bags, clothes, shoes and other high-end goods.
Between January and October of this year, the men slung the fake designer swag that had a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1.3 billion, prosecutors said.
Federal agents, partnered with the NYPD, seized 219,000 knockoffs from the massive midtown Manhattan storage facilities.
The origin of the goods was not immediately disclosed.
In a statement, Police Commissioner Edward Caban said peddling the illegal goods is “anything but a victimless crime.”
“Today’s indictments show how seriously the NYPD and our federal partners take this offense,” he said. ” And we will continue to work hard to hold accountable anyone who seeks to benefit by selling such items on the black market.”
Sow, of Queens, and Jalloh, of Manhattan, were arrested Wednesday and charged charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.
If convicted, they could face up to 10 years behind bars.
Last year, police seized $10 million in knockoff merchandise being peddled in Chinatown.
Cops called to Canal Street and Broadway in the wake of “numerous complaints” arrested 17 people and cleared out three truckloads of counterfeit items.