Two Syosset men and a third man from New York City have been arrested for their involvement in an international counterfeit cell phone ring worth at least $2 million, authorities said Wednesday.
Investigators seized more than 32,000 counterfeit cell phones sent from China to New York. Qiang Chen, 44, Ye Zhang, 43, and 28-year-old Robert Eisenberg of Manhattan were charged with trademark counterfeiting.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents foiled the alleged scheme when they became suspicious of cell phones without packaging that the agents found during a random inspection at John F. Kennedy International Airport six months ago.
Agents sent a few of the phones with labels such as Motorola, HTC and LG to those companies for examination. The companies determined that the phones were, in fact, counterfeit.
Authorities then tracked the phones from the airport to two warehouses in Plainview and Hicksville, where investigators executed a search warrant Tuesday.
The men would re-package and sell the counterfeit phones online or through legitimate cell phone wholesalers, who were likely unaware they were receiving counterfeit phones, prosecutors said.
The three men face up to four years in prison, if convicted.