On Friday, September 1, 2017, a former Queens, New York resident was charged for smuggling counterfeit brand name apparel into the United States from the Republic of China. The complaint was unsealed on Friday in a Brooklyn federal court. The complaint charges Su Ming Lin with smuggling and conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods.
It is alleged that Ling was involved in a sophisticated scheme to import roughly 200 shipping containers of counterfeit products from the People’s Republic of China. Ling was arrested on Thursday night, as he attempted to board a flight from San Francisco, California to Taiwan. Ling made his initial appearance on Friday.
Ling is scheduled to attend a detention hearing on Wednesday, September 6, 2017. The unsealed complaint claims that Ling used several aliases to register various Internet domain names and emails addresses resembling real businesses from May 2013 to January 2017. The defendant is accused of utilizing the fraudulently obtained email addresses to pretend to represent real businesses. Ling allegedly hired CBP-licensed custom brokers that helped him file customs entry forms for the businesses, whose identities he had stolen.
Ling supposedly gave falsified shipping documents to the customs brokers for several shipments of counterfeit apparel. The documentation concealed and misrepresented the true contents of the containers. Then, Ling worked with co-conspirators to have the contents of the containers distributed to storage facilities and warehouses in Brooklyn, Queens and New Jersey.
During an inspection of the shipping containers, HSI and CBP discovered brand-name counterfeit products from brands, such as Nike, UGG, NFL, and True Religion. HSI agents searched the defendant’s cellphones in December of 2015. At that time, they found photographs and notes relating to the false identities used by the defendant. Messages between Ling and his co-conspirators were also discovered.
At this point in time, 50-year-old Su Ming Ling is presumed innocent, until proven guilty in a court of law. Should the defendant be convicted, he will face 20 years in prison for smuggling and 10 years for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods.