LEXINGTON, N.C. -- Two people from Fresh Meadows, N.Y., have been arrested for reportedly trying to sell fake brand-name goods sure to fly off the shelves at any time of year and especially during the holidays.
The North Carolina Department of the Secretary of State charged Ping Hsiao Mao, 61, and Sheau Chen Yu Mao, 58, with one count each of felony possession with intent to sell and deliver counterfeit goods.
The Davidson County Sheriff’s Office helped arrest the two and confiscate goods marked as Michael Kors, Nike, Duck Dynasty and North Face apparel.
Authorities said they seized a truck and SUV filled with boxes of the counterfeit goods. They estimate that the retail value of the items, were they legit, would be $280,000.
“The sale of counterfeit trademarked goods does very real harm to everyone across the economic spectrum, from the consumers who are buying substandard goods to the legitimate manufacturers and retailers who find themselves competing with fake versions of their brands,” Secretary of State Elaine F. Marshall said Tuesday. “We have also seen that the same distribution channels that bring in fake designer apparel can also bring in Christmas tree lights bearing counterfeit Underwriters Laboratories safety certification labels. That can present a deadly fire hazard in our homes.”
The Maos don’t have a Lexington address and Sheriff David Grice assumed the couple rented a hotel in the area for a few days at a time to sell goods from the space they rented on Wholesale Alley off Highway 52.
“I suspect that people who are purchasing these kinds of items know that they're probably counterfeit but if you don't you should be wary,” Grice said. “If it’s too good to be true it's probably not true. I don't think you're going to buy a 300-dollar product for 25 dollars brand new unless it's stolen or not legitimate.”
Wholesale Alley allows vendors to rent space and sell directly to business owners. A permit is required for buyers. One of those buyers said she never looks for name brand items while shopping.
“Most of the time if you ask these people if it's genuine they'll be honest with you and tell you, ‘No, it's a knockoff,’” said Renee Pruitt, a Triad-area shopkeeper. “If you don't ask the question-- you know you’ve got to ask.”