BALTIMORE- A Delaware man could get up to a decade behind bars for selling counterfeit merchandise at his two shops on the boardwalk in Ocean City, Md.
Thirty-four-year-old Liang Lin appeared in federal court in Baltimore on Thursday where he pleaded guilty to trafficking in counterfeit goods.
According to his plea agreement, Lin owned and operated Hot Topik, at 401 South Atlantic Ave., and Everything $5.99 and Up (Hot Topik), at 806 South Atlantic Ave. Prosecutors said he sold counterfeit merchandise, including purses, shirts, jewelry, perfume, hats, and shoes that bore trademarks such as Michael Kors, Nike, Monster, Coach, Gucci, Versace, Vera Wang, Louis Vuitton and Chanel.
Court records show that during the summer of 2011, undercover investigators observed large quantities of counterfeit merchandise in Lin's stores, and several undercover buys of counterfeit merchandise were made, including the purchase of a counterfeit Coach purse.
Prosecutors said that on the morning of Aug. 17, 2011, federal search warrants were executed at both of Lin's stores and approximately 8,000 items of counterfeit merchandise were seized. Authorities said that two days after the execution of the federal search warrant, an investigator again saw counterfeit merchandise for sale at Everything $5.99 and Up (Hot Topik), including merchandise of the same type seized during the search. Court records show that on Sept. 1, 2011, an investigator made an undercover buy of a counterfeit Coach purse at Everything $5.99 and Up (Hot Topik).
On Jan. 30, 2012, Lin was stopped re-entering the United States after a one-day trip to Canada, at which time prosecutors noted he declared that the only thing he purchased in Canada was liquor from a duty-free shop. A border search of his vehicle recovered approximately 869 pieces of counterfeit jewelry bearing trademarks such as Chanel, according to prosecutors.
According to court documents, the lost retail value of the goods seized and sold was estimated to be between $200,000 and $400,000.
Lin faces a maximum of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine at sentencing March 27.
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