NEW YORK — The majority of the people arrested by federal authorities on Tuesday in connection with alleged counterfeiting and smuggling activities were back on the streets by nightfall.
The authorities raided several warehouses throughout the metropolitan area on Tuesday morning, arresting 29 people, seizing more than $230 million in merchandise and ultimately dismantling three operations believed to have imported more than $700 million in fake products over the last 24 months. Those arrested were accused of a range of violations, including counterfeiting, conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods, money laundering and smuggling.
According to court documents filed in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn, most of the defendants posted bail bonds that ranged between $100,000 and $1.5 million. In some cases, terms of bail included turning over passports and confining the areas in which the defendants could travel.
Brian Brokate, a partner with the law firm Gibney, Anthony & Flaherty, which represents Rolex and several other major fashion labels that turned up in the raids, said the speedy release of the defendants was telling of the size and strength of the counterfeiting and smuggling operations.
"The fact that they could put their hands on that amount of money in such a short period of time shows how high up they were in terms of the counterfeiting chain," said Brokate. "It also shows there's a lot of money being made as a result of the sales of counterfeit goods. Either they themselves or the people they're working for really wanted to make sure they were out of jail and not talking."
Brokate added the high bail levels indicate the prosecutors in the case had provided the judge with ample evidence of how much money the defendants were allegedly taking in.
"These are high amounts, so the prosecutor was able to make good showing," said Brokate.
Formal indictments are expected to be issued against the defendants later this summer.
From overseeing America’s fastest-growing speciality retailers to codifying cool, WWD talked to the women who are leading the way for the future of beauty. Check out our Instagram Stories to see how these women built today and are creating tomorrow. (📸: @hannah_khymych) #wwdbeauty
For @laperlalingerie's spring 2018 show, the brand chose to host their event at @thevenetianmacao. With Chinese megastars @bingbing_fan and @hubing in attendance, La Perla debuted a rock ‘n’ roll-inspired collection. The show marked the start of Sands Macao Fashion Week, which runs from October 19 to 24 — the city’s first such event. Pictured here are models backstage with glimmering eyes. #wwdfashion (📷: Cheuk-Yin To)
Trending for spring 2018: top stitch design. Gone are the days of stitch just for seams — designers are using the once-minimal detail to create strong decorative elements. (📷: Paola Testa; Styled by @andrew_shang) #wwdfashion
@tradesy is turning the concept of a showroom upside down with its new space in Santa Monica. Here, the company plans to hold events, art exhibits and a showcase rare fashion pieces like this Louis Vuitton boxing set. Get all the details on Tradesy’s first showroom on WWD.com. #wwdnews
Spotted last night at the @erdem x @hm launch event: Kate Bosworth, Rashida Jones, Kirsten Dunst and Selma Blair. The party, which took place in LA, also marked the opening of their pop-up shop. “I was interested in creating a collection that wasn’t in any way disposable. It was about pieces you’d create and keep forever, things that have a permanence to it,” designer Erdem Moralioglu said. #wwdeye (📷: Katie Jones)
Renee Zellweger in yellow in 2001 and again in 2017. Chosen as one of the 12 @pantone Leading Spring Colors (and dubbed “Meadowlark”), it only makes sense that the bright hue stands the test of time and is making a resurgence this season, seen already on stars like @blakelively and @gigihadid. (📷: Donato Sardello & @rexfeatures) #wwdfashion #tbt
Dior’s 70th anniversary celebration continues with a new exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. “Christian Dior,” which is scheduled to run through March 18, takes a look at the founders tenure from 1947 to 1057 and feature 40 designs. Pictured here is an evening gown from the Ailée, fall 1948-49 haute couture collection. #wwdfashion (📷: Brian Boyle)