A couple who owns a jewelry store in Los Angeles were each sentenced to
37 months in federal prison for illegally importing and selling counterfeit
designer jewelry, some of which tested positive for hazardous levels of lead, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney from the Central District of California.
A third person who worked at the store was also sentenced to 30 months
Il Keun Oh and wife Jacqueline Oh,
who co-owned Elegance Fashion Mart, as well as Elegance Fashion Mart manager Joon Yeop
Kim, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy and one count of introducing and
delivering a hazardous substance in June 2010.
The three were charged with delivering a hazardous substance after lab
tests showed some of the counterfeit jewelry seized in the case contained
nearly 20 times the amount of lead deemed safe by the Consumer Product Safety
Commission for handling by children. Despite that, the items were labeled as
“lead-free,” the statement said.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations
received a tip that the jewelry store was selling counterfeit designer
merchandise in 2007.
ICE HIS agents seized more than 25,000 counterfeit pieces of jewelry
and accessories, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, watches, hair
ornaments, and cell phone charms. The fakes were purportedly made by well-known
designer labels including Tiffany and Co., Bulgari, Louis Vuitton, Baby Phat,
Chanel, Tous, Bebe, Christian Dior, Van Cleef and Arpels, Hello Kitty, and
“This sentence is a reminder about the high price retailers will pay if
they bolster their bottom lines by selling counterfeit goods that put the
public at risk,” Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for the ICE HIS in Los
Angeles, said in a statement.
To receive the latest jewelry news and blogs every day in your
inbox, subscribe to JCK’s e-newsletter here.