Toys Aren’t Us: Fake ‘Angry Birds’ and Disney Merchandise Nabbed in NYC
July 13, 2012
If you purchased any “Angry Birds” or Disney-themed gear in New York City recently, there’s a chance you got less than your money’s worth. In late June, an alleged counterfeit ring that supplied fake “Angry Birds” and Disney merchandise to stores around the city was broken up, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office. Unauthorized knapsacks, watches, umbrellas, pencil cases, caps, toy cars and action figures—with an estimated retail value of up to $500,000—were among the loot purchased in an undercover operation by a private investigator.
Three individuals, Ying Jiang, 38, Deqiang Luo, 49, and Haiwei Chen, 54, were charged with first-degree trademark counterfeiting, a crime that could net them up to 15 years of imprisonment. “Such trademark counterfeiting defrauds the toy industry of millions of dollars in worldwide revenue,” said DA Richard A. Brown in a statement, “and rips off honest consumers who purchase these fake and typically shoddily-made toys.”
Poorly manufactured toys—those that incorporate toxic paints or plastic, for example—can harm children, while inferior flame-retardant fabrics can even put a child’s life in danger. According to AOL’s Daily Finance website, which places counterfeit toys at number 10 of the top ten counterfeit items seized by authorities in the U.S., some counterfeit toys “are made with poisonous materials, such as lead, and others can malfunction and hurt children, such as electronic toys that overheat or even explode. “ Clearly the counterfeit market in toys is not child’s play.