WASHINGTON D.C., DC — The United States military and other government agencies purchased more than $20 million in Chinese-made counterfeit goods designed to look like American-made military grade material, according to the Military Times.
According to the complaint filed by the Department of Justice, U.S. Attorney's Office, District of Rhode Island, the counterfeit gear included 200 parkas designed to shield soldiers from night vision goggles. The report says those parkas didn't do that and could have put lives at risk in the field. U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in Afghanistan were supposed to use the parkas, but they never did.
The illegally acquired counterfeit goods were knowingly purchased by Ramin Kohanbash, 49, and others who ran a clothing and goods wholesaler in Brooklyn, New York. The complaint said that Kohanbash sent genuine samples of U.S. military uniforms and other gear to Chinese manufacturers so they could replicate them, according to a May 21 filing in U.S District Court.
The complaint said the conspiracy started in January 2013, and ran through October 2018.
Furthermore, sales were in violation of the Berry Amendment and the Trade Agreement Act, which requires any and all goods sold to military personnel to be made in the United States or in select countries and China is not one of them.
The complaint details how Kohanbash emailed back and forth with the Chinese manufacturer on what changes should be made to the bogus goods and their labels as the scheme was facilitated.
Once completed, the forged goods were shipped to Kohanbash in Brooklyn and he would then sell the gear to "other wholesalers who ultimately marketed and sold them to military and government buyers as genuine, American-made products," justice officials said in a news release.
Justice officials say they seized more than 1,700 boxes of counterfeit goods that included ponchos, gloves and fleece jackets.
Kohanbash is expected to appear in court on June 12 for his initial appearance on the charges listed in the filing.