NEW YORK--Police were still looking for one of the city's largest jeans counterfeiters Wednesday, nearly a month after smashing a West Side bogus jeans operation, arresting two accomplices and seizing more than 5,000 pairs of denim pants.
Although police would not name the man they are looking for, he is said to be an executive in E&R Sportswear of 325 West 37th St., one of the East Coast's largest suppliers of fake Karl Kani, DKNY, Guess, Levi, Strauss & Co., Nautica and Timberland jeans before being shut down by the police, according to private investigators who helped break the ring.
NYPD officers assigned to the Garment Center Task Force arrested Elizer Lipper, an owner of E&R Sportswear, and Aron Dzhureyev, the manager, on Dec. 19 after searching the third-floor loft and finding the jeans and thousands of phony labels, etc. The two were indicted by a Manhattan grand jury Wednesday on one-count of trademark infringement.
According to Dempster Leech, president of Harper Associates, a private investigations concern active in the apparel industry which headed the probe, the jeans, tags, rivets and other items were imported into the U.S. from Israel under the X-Energy label.
E&R then ripped off the X-Energy labels, replaced them with the branded tags and labels and sold them to wholesalers, who distributed them up and down the Eastern seaboard, Leech said.
He said information on E&R was gathered after shutting down a Bronx retailer for selling counterfeit merchandise and seizing its records. Undercover investigators then visited E&R and observed the counterfeiting operation in process. Harper investigators also learned that E&R recently began exporting the counterfeit goods overseas, Leech noted.
Leech passed the information to the NYPD's Garment Center Task Force, which obtained a search warrant and made the arrests and seizures.
The shutdown of the E&R operation is particularly significant, Leech added, because the high quality hangtags, buttons and rivets used in the business, made at the West Side loft, allowed the operation to thrive.
According to the investigator, the ersatz labels, tags and buttons were of such high quality that some of the trademarks' owners had trouble telling them from the real ones.
--Fairchild News Service

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