NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Five Queens residents have been arrested for allegedly illegally importing unsafe toys from China into the U.S., federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The imported toys contained high levels of lead and other toxic chemicals or were choking hazards, according to an indictment.
According to authorities, three of the defendants are Chinese nationals, while the other two defendants are naturalized U.S. citizens originally from China.
“For years, the defendants sought to enrich themselves by importing and selling dangerous and counterfeit children’s toys without regard for the law or the health of our children,” U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch said. “Profits from the counterfeit items, as well as toys riddled with lead and choking hazards, went to provide the defendants with luxury cars.”
In addition to the hazardous toys, authorities said the group also imported and sold knock-offs of toys featuring popular characters including Spider-Man, Winnie The Pooh, Dora the Explorer and Mickey Mouse.
“When it comes to trademark infringement, don’t mess with Mickey or other American icons,” said NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Dozens of illegal toys that were sold in stores in Queens and Brooklyn were seized by authorities, according to prosecutors.
The toys had been illegally imported since July 2005, according to prosecutors.
All five were arrested on charges of violating copyright laws and the consumer product safety act.
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