Nationwide Trafficker of Counterfeit Clothing Sentenced to 57 Months in Prison

Five of Seven Defendants Sentenced to Prison in Multi-State Enforcement


Oct 12, 2007, 01:00 ET from U.S. Department of Justice

    WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A national distributor
 of more than $7 million in counterfeit clothing has been sentenced to 57
 months in prison, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the
 Criminal Division, U.S. Attorney Chuck Rosenberg of the Eastern District of
 Virginia, and Special Agent in Charge Charles Cunningham of the FBI's
 Richmond Division, announced today.
     Abbas Chouman, 43, of Astoria, N.Y., was sentenced on one count of
 conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement by U.S. District Judge
 Henry E. Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia. Judge Hudson also
 ordered Chouman to forfeit $7 million. Chouman pleaded guilty to conspiracy
 on July 3, 2007, and has remained in federal custody since his arrest in
 March 2007.
     Chouman operated a wholesale clothing business in New York City that
 sold more than $7 million in counterfeit clothing. The business, known by
 various names including: Gizmo Wear Inc., Tea Shirt Inc., T Shirt
 International Inc., and Jump Wear, offered clothing bearing counterfeit
 marks at a substantial discount from prices charged for legitimate
 clothing. Buyers could purchase counterfeit clothing in person at the New
 York store or by telephone, receiving shipment by UPS. Buyers throughout
 the United States, including in the Eastern District of Virginia, paid cash
 on delivery (COD) for shipped clothing with money orders they remitted to
 UPS. UPS, in turn, regularly deposited the proceeds of clothing sales in a
 bank account held under the Gizmo Wear Inc. name. Between December 1, 2004,
 and September 1, 2006, UPS deposited nearly $19 million in COD payments in
 the Gizmo Wear Inc. account.
     Chouman is the fifth defendant sentenced to prison out of seven
 convictions stemming from this multi-agency, multi-state federal
 enforcement operation targeting traffickers in counterfeit and pirated
 goods. The initial phase of the operation culminated on March 7, 2007, when
 federal and state agents executed search warrants and made arrests in four
     On August 2, 2007, Ishoc Uthman Ibn-Abdus Salaam, 26, of Pamplin, Va.,
 was sentenced to 18 months in prison after a federal jury in Richmond, Va.,
 found Salaam guilty of attempted conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit
     In September 2007, Ismail Haqq, 33, of Meherrin, Va.; Cherubin Pierre,
 32, of Highland Springs, Va.; and Eric Harmon, 40, of Richmond, were
 sentenced to eight, 24, and 27 months in prison, respectively, for
 conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The case arose out of
 Harmon's ownership and operation of a retail store in Richmond, where he
 and others illegally reproduced and sold thousands of copyright-infringing
 CDs and DVDs.
     On August 16, 2007, Ronald Roundtree, 51, of Lynchburg, Va., pleaded
 guilty to one count of conspiracy to traffic in $70,000 to $120,000 worth
 of counterfeit trademarked clothing and shoes. Roundtree is scheduled to be
 sentenced in Richmond on November 14, 2007.
     On July 5, 2007, Terri Singleton, 34, of Beckley, W.V., pleaded guilty
 to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods with Roundtree. Singleton was
 sentenced today to two years of probation.
     The investigation was conducted by a multi-agency task force that
 included the Richmond office of the FBI, Virginia State Police, Defense
 Criminal Investigative Service, U.S. Secret Service, Internal Revenue
 Service, U.S. Marshals Service, Henrico County Police Department,
 Chesterfield County Police Department, and Richmond Police Department.
     This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John S. Davis
 of the Eastern District of Virginia, Special Assistant U.S. Attorney and
 Assistant Virginia Attorney General Matthew C. Ackley, and Senior Counsel
 Scott L. Garland of the Criminal Division's Computer Crime and Intellectual
 Property Section.

SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice