By  on June 28, 2007

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.

To unlock this article, subscribe to WWD below.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus