Counterfeit 'Angry Birds' and Disney Toy Ring Broken Up in Queens

By Paul DeBenedetto on June 25, 2012 4:27pm 

"Angry Birds" plush toys. Three people in Flushing were accused of selling fake merchandise last week.
"Angry Birds" plush toys. Three people in Flushing were accused of selling fake merchandise last week.
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Flickr/susanti.chandra

FLUSHING — An alleged counterfeit-toy ring that supplied fake Angry Birds and Disney merchandise to stores around the city was broken up last week, according to the Queens District Attorney's office.

Ying Jiang, 38, Deqiang Luo, 49, and Haiwei Chen, 54, were charged with first-degree trademark counterfeiting, a crime that could net the trio up to 15 years in prison, the DA's office said.

"The defendants are accused of not running some small mom-and-pop operation but, rather, a well-organized business that catered to retailers throughout the metropolitan area," District Attorney Richard A. Brown said in a statement.

"Such trademark counterfeiting defrauds the toy industry of millions of dollars in worldwide revenue and rips off honest consumers who purchase these fake and typically shoddily-made toys."

According to the complaint, Epstein Drangel LLP, the intellectual property firm representing Angry Birds' creator Rovio Entertainment and Disney Enterprise, hired private investigator Richard Taute to go undercover at the warehouse of J & L Trading at 15-17 132 St., near 15th Avenue.

Taute met with the alleged counterfeiters on April 6 and said he wanted to make a purchase, according to the court documents.

He then allegedly bought knapsacks, watches, umbrellas, pencil cases, caps, toy cars and action figures emblazoned with Angry Birds, Disney and other logos and characters.

According to the law firm, the retail value of the products is estimated to be as much as $500,000.

Luo, of Whitestone and Chen, of Flushing, were released immediately, while Jiang, who is also from Whitestone, was held on $5,000 bail.

In November, dozens of Chinatown vendors were arrested for selling knockoff Angry Birds merchandise in a surprise sweep.

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