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Saturday, November 1, 2014
D.A.: Counterfeiting operation busted
(Page 2 of 2)
Courtesy Steve Grogan
When Valley Stream firefighters responded to a commercial fire on Hawthorne Avenue last year, it set the stage for the uncovering of a multi-million-dollar counterfeiting operation.

Rice said that it has not been determined whether the brothers’ employees knew they were working in a counterfeit operation.

“This is one of the largest rings of this type ever,” Rice said at a press conference on March 7 at the Nassau County Courthouse in Mineola. “These products were done with a level of professionalism that is just frightening. What’s so disturbing is that people were putting these products on babies.”

“Health and beauty products,” Rice went on to say, “like lip balms, oils, shampoos and inhalers, are highly regulated in order to protect consumers. These defendants are charged with going around those protections and stealing the brands of major corporations that comply with the law.”

She added that it is not yet known whether unsuspecting consumers who bought the counterfeit products experienced any adverse health effects.

Frank Roca, Valley Stream’s fire inspector, told the Herald that there were several signs that the manufacturing was not tied to a legitimate company. Propane tanks that fed large burners inside the Valley Stream building, and 55-gallon drums of turpentine left lying around, were among the red flags.

While manufacturing is permitted in that building, there were numerous violations. “You still have to follow fire codes,” Mayor Ed Fare said. “There was an illegal burn going on here.”

Fare added that the operation jeopardized not only the unknowing consumers who purchased the products, but nearby homes and businesses. He credited the village and county fire inspectors for their diligence. “They noticed it, they acted properly,” he said. “This is something that was shut down and stopped.”

The brothers were arraigned on March 7 at Nassau County District Court, and Judge Anna R. Anzalone set bail at $100,000 for each of them. Mullick and Malik were each charged with three counts of first-degree trademark counterfeiting and one count of second-degree trademark counterfeiting — both felonies. They were due back in court on March 11.

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