NEW YORK — Brands ranging from Cartier and Prada to Fendi and Gucci have one less counterfeit operation to worry about.

A jury in U.S. District Court in Miami has convicted two defendants, Ji Wu Chen and Meihua Li, on three counts of conspiracy and trafficking and importing counterfeit goods, totaling one million pieces. The guilty verdict on Friday came after a two-week trial.

The defendants, who operated the flea market-based counterfeiting scheme in South Florida, have been jailed to await sentencing on Aug. 25. Each faces as much as 10 years in prison. They also might be fined.

The brands named in the indictment included Louis Vuitton Malletier, Nike, Coach, Oakley, Rolex Watch USA, Cartier USA, Gucci America, Prada USA, Fendi USA, Disney Enterprises, Major League Baseball Properties, Gillette and Glock. The named brands either declined comment or did not return calls.

Chen and Li were indicted in December on six counts, including conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods or services, trafficking in counterfeit goods or services and concealing and selling imported counterfeit goods. The defendants imported counterfeit handbags, wallets, suitcases, hats, sunglasses, watches, clothing and accessories, umbrellas, batteries and soft-pellet air pistols. They were stored them at a warehouse or the residence they shared, starting in May 2004. The goods were distributed from a variety of locations, including a booth at the Opa-Locka Flea Market in Miami.

Defense lawyers declined to comment on the verdict except to say the penalties seemed harsh.

This story first appeared in the June 14, 2006 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

load comments
blog comments powered by Disqus