Laredo downtown merchant heads to federal prison

By: Matt McGovern Email
By: Matt McGovern Email
Yi Hui Chen, 47, a merchant in downtown Laredo, has been ordered to federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit goods and ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution.

He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.

LAREDO, TX (KGNS) – Yi Hui Chen, 47, a merchant in downtown Laredo, has been ordered to federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit goods and ordered to pay more than $400,000 in restitution, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today along with Janice Ayala, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Chen pleaded guilty May 16, 2013.

Today, U.S. District Judge Judge Marina Garcia Marmolejo, who accepted the guilty plea, handed Chen a sentence of 18 months in federal prison. He was further ordered to pay restitution in the amounts of $265,836 to Coach and $80,324.23, $39,943.33, $35,675, $5,343, $826.23 and $290 to Tory Burch, Louis Vitton, Gucci, Burberry, Nike and Prada, respectively.

Chen, a U.S. legal permanent resident who was born in Taiwan, was the owner of J Design located in downtown Laredo. He is expected to face deportation proceedings following his release from prison.

HSI special agents met with Chen and conducted undercover buys of counterfeits goods at Chen’s place of business. Approximately 5,722 counterfeit items of numerous styles and brands of handbags, wallets, hats, sunglasses, shirts and luggage, all of which were counterfeit, were seized over the course of the investigation. Brands included Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Chi, Coach, Dooney and Bourke, Gucci, Hermes, Jimmy Choo, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Nike, Oakley, Polo, Prada, Rayban, Rolex, Tory Burch and Dolce & Gabanna.

The case was investigated by HSI. The case was prosecuted by former Assistant U.S. Attorney (AUSA) Roel Canales. AUSA Shawn Coker handled the sentencing today.


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