WANTAGH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Two Nassau County men face charges after they allegedly sold hundreds of fake cellphones in New York.
Counterfeit cellphones, accessories and more than $1 million on cash were seized by Nassau County police following a four month-long investigation, dubbed “Bad Apples.”
“Trading and selling Apple products — so phones, charges, iPads, millions of dollars of merchandise — and they were passing it off as real,” Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced Thursday.
Police said 37-year-old Gurcharan Luthra and 48-year-old Sumesh Pasricha accepted shipments of phone parts from China to a home on Poulson Street and a business called AMS World in Wantagh.
They assembled the parts, packed them in fake boxes and sold the phones both online and to local stores — as brand new iPhones and Samsungs, but at a discount, police said.
Police said the buyers and sellers should have known better.
“You know the price of you iPhone, you know what you’re paying for it for your kid. And then you go and get it at half the price at this location. You know what you’re buying — it’s garbage,” Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said.
‘Garbage’ products that worked for a while but could also be dangerous, with no proper testing or safeguards.
“The equipment they use inside is not used by the actual companies – Apple and Samsung. So these phones, when you charge them, they could catch fire,” said U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Port Director for John F. Kennedy International Airport Frank Russo.
Authorities also warned that counterfeit goods can be built with poisonous materials and held fund terrorism and illegal activity.
As part of the crackdown, police seized three cars, as well.
Luthra and Pasricha now face counterfeiting and conspiracy charges.