Five Queens residents have been charged with selling counterfeit Chinese toys that posed several safety hazards to children, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York announced.
“They allegedly retooled their operations many times in order to avoid detection, and despite repeated citations by the authorities, they continued to peddle counterfeit toys featuring Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants and other popular children’s characters,” said Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
In addition to violating copyright law, the five that were arrested are also accused of selling toys with a “high lead content and cheap knock offs with substandard parts that break easily and pose a choking hazard.”
These fake versions of toys that featured popular children’s characters, such as Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer, SpongeBob SquarePants, Spiderman and Mickey Mouse, as well as those from movies, such as Toy Story” and “High School Musical,” were sold, both wholesale and retail, from a storefront and warehouse in Ridgewood, and other locations in Queens and Brooklyn between July 2005 and January 2013.
“When it comes to trademark infringement, don’t mess with Mickey or other American icons,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.