Prosecutors: Men Sold Knockoff Handbags Online, Defrauded Customers
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Five men were indicted Wednesday, on charges offering real luxury handbags at discounted prices on several websites – but actually presenting consumers with knockoffs, or even with nothing at all.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service announced the unsealing of the indictment in Manhattan U.S. District Court Wednesday – charging Joseph Mosseri, Albert Mosseri, Oded “Eddie” Hakim, Elliot Shasho, and Andrew Li.
Prosecutors said the defendants “victimized hundreds of consumers and numerous credit card processors” in their sale of counterfeit luxury goods.
The men allegedly ran a series of websites – including areele.com, besela.com, emilbell.com, ferenzana.com, luxurycatch.com, mysofoxy.com, repandue.com, sorefined.com, viasolace.com, and viloxi.com, the indictment said. The website all advertised handbags and other name-brand items at prices as high as $3,000, prosecutors said.
The websites claimed the goods were authentic, and were being offered at discount prices because of defects that were, “infrequently noticeable to the consumer,” prosecutors said.
But some victims ended up being sent items that were verifiably counterfeit, while others never received their purchases at all, prosecutors said.
The suspects also allegedly scammed the credit card processors for their sites in a scheme to avoid being bombarded by credit card chargebacks from unhappy customers, prosecutors said. They misrepresented the reasons that customers were disputing their charges, and blocked efforts by processors to recover funds, prosecutors said.
In some cases, the processors’ losses amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars, prosecutors said.
Joseph and Albert Mosseri, Hakim, and Shasho ran the operation while Li supplied the phony goods, prosecutors sad.
The suspects were each charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, substantive wire fraud, and trademark counterfeiting. Each of the defendants could face up to 50 years in prison if convicted.
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