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NY wholesaler charged with selling counterfeit US military uniforms from China

By SETH ROBSON | STARS AND STRIPES Published: May 30, 2019

A New York clothing wholesaler is accused of selling $20 million worth of Chinese-made counterfeit U.S. military uniforms and other gear to the Department of Defense, other government purchasers and companies that supply the U.S. government, according to the Justice Department.

Ramin Kohanbash, 49, of Brooklyn, N.Y., was charged May 21 in U.S. District Court in Providence, R.I., with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods, the department said in a statement.

The Justice Department alleges that Kohanbash and others provided samples of actual military uniforms and gear to manufacturers in China to replicate.

The department also alleges that Kohanbash and his co-conspirators provided, reviewed and approved photographs, descriptions and samples of tags and labels to be attached to the knockoff products, so that the counterfeit versions appeared legitimate, the department said.

“In many instances, this process allegedly involved copying the trademarks and brand names of actual U.S.-made products and adding them to the foreign counterfeit versions,” the department said.

The Chinese-made knockoffs were shipped to Kohanbash and sold to other wholesalers who ultimately marketed and sold them to military and government buyers as genuine, American-made products, the department said.

By law, goods sold to the military and certain other government buyers must be made in the United States or certain other designated countries. China is not one of those countries, the department said.

Items Kohanbash arranged to counterfeit included 200 military parkas used by Air Force personnel in Afghanistan, the department alleges. The counterfeit parkas lacked special fabric designed to make the genuine articles difficult to detect with night vision equipment.

Other counterfeit clothing included labels falsely stating that it was flame-resistant, the department said.

Kohanbash, who could face as much as 10 years in a federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit goods and five years on the charge of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, is scheduled to appear before a magistrate June 12, the department said.

robson.seth@stripes.com
Twitter: @SethRobson1