Guilty plea in counterfeit goods case
A New Jersey man pleaded guilty Wednesday to conspiring to pay Customs and Border Protection officials more than $700,000 to traffic counterfeit luxury goods through the Port Newark and Elizabeth marine terminals and other U.S. ports of entry, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman announced.
Michael Hanna, also known as 'Mike Nova' and 'George Flores,' 28, of Little Ferry, pleaded guilty Wednesday before U.S. District Judge Stanley R. Chesler to one count of conspiracy to commit bribery of public officials and to import counterfeit handbags, pocketbooks and sneakers that were intended to imitate the products of such legitimate luxury goods manufacturers as Coach, Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Nike.
Hanna further admitted that between June 2008 and March 2009, he paid more than $700,000 in cash to an undercover law enforcement agent whom Hanna believed was acting at the direction of a corrupt U.S. Customs and Border Protection official.
Hanna made the payments in an effort to obtain the purported CBP official's assistance in ensuring that shipping containers holding the counterfeits would not be seized at the port and in releasing from CBP's examination process those shipping containers with counterfeit goods that were being held.
Hanna admitted that he delivered cash to the undercover officer, including about $20,000 concealed in a Remy Martin cognac gift box, at diners and New Jersey Turnpike rest stops.
The charge of conspiracy to which Hanna pleaded guilty carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. Chesler scheduled sentencing for June 1.