Final 1,000 jackets distributed; 600 jackets donated to humanitarian relief efforts in Ukraine
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly today announced the completion of a six-year long effort to donate nearly 100,000 counterfeit jackets – seized during multiple investigations – to more than 160 charities across Long Island and the greater New York area.
During three investigations between 2015 and 2017, the NCDA and its law enforcement partners in the Nassau County Police Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, and Homeland Security Investigations, seized nearly 100,000 counterfeit jackets from warehouses in Hicksville, Westbury, and Old Bethpage, intended for sale with a street value that – at the time – exceeded $3 million.
The NCDA has distributed the jackets to more than 160 nonprofits, charities, and volunteer groups for individuals in need.
Today, the final 1,000 jackets were distributed to charities, including 600 jackets that have been donated to St. Finbar Roman Catholic Church, which will be sent to Ukraine as part of humanitarian relief efforts in the region.
“After three seizures netted us nearly 100,000 counterfeit jackets, we were faced with a tough choice: send them to the incinerator to be destroyed like most counterfeit goods, or get creative, and find a way to put these jackets into the hands of people who needed them most,” said DA Donnelly. “With the help of our extraordinary partners, the jackets were given new life and donated to charities across Long Island and New York. Now, at the end of this journey with one final donation, we are glad to be able to provide some small measure of relief to the people of Ukraine.”
“After a lengthy multi-agency investigation was conducted, the most advantageous way for the counterfeit goods to be dispersed was to ensure that the deserving in our communities are taken care of,” said Nassau County Police Department Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder. “Not only will these jackets keep them warm, it will bring smiles to their faces knowing that their law enforcement agencies care. With many of the jackets also being shipped to the Ukraine, it’s a great way for Nassau County to show our support.”
"In supporting neuro-diverse inclusion and employment opportunities through this donation, the Nassau County District Attorney's Office has strengthened the fabric of the entire county," said Stanfort J. Perry, CEO, AHRC Nassau. "These machines provide a pathway for men and women with developmental disabilities to become meaningfully employed while supplying needed resources in our local Long Island economy."
Seized counterfeit clothing was once destroyed by law, but in 2015, state forfeiture laws were amended to allow for counterfeit items, like clothing or jackets, to be donated to charity with proper safety testing and the permission of the victim.
In 2015, NCDA, NCPD, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Homeland Security Investigations seized more than 50,000 counterfeit jackets in a Hicksville warehouse, with a street value at the time in excess of $2 million.
State law requires not-for-profit recipients of donated counterfeit clothing to inspect or pay for inspection of the clothing to ensure it is safe for consumers. The defendant was ordered, as part of his plea, to pay for the expense of the independent testing and the storage of the jackets earmarked for donation.
Two additional seizures, in Westbury and Old Bethpage in 2016 and 2017, respectively, brought the total number of seized counterfeit jackets to 98,000.
With the permission of the victim manufacturer, a project was initiated to alter the jackets to remove the fraudulent labels using embroidery machines that were also seized during the investigations.
NCDA donated four seized machines to AHRC Nassau and Spectrum Designs, who trained their clients with intellectual and developmental disabilities to operate the embroidery machines and remove the counterfeit labels, ensuring the jackets were ready for charitable donation, while providing their clients with valuable, transferable, occupational skills.
All jackets were safety tested and counterfeit trademarks were removed before donation to charitable organizations.
The NCDA thanks the many organizations that have assisted in these efforts, including our law enforcement partners, AHRC Nassau, Spectrum Designs, the recipient charities, veterans’ associations, local business owners and manufacturers, and NCDA staff who participated in the project.