EDISON, NJ - An Edison family of three has been adjudicated after they were charged with participating in an international counterfeiting ring that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars from cosmetics sold online and to retailers as top-of-the-line designer products.
“Counterfeit cosmetics are a public health concern, as unwitting victims are applying potentially toxic substances to their faces and bodies,” Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey said, adding that “counterfeiting poses a significant drain on the local and national economies.”
Jorge Robles, 51, was sentenced to serve five years in a New Jersey state prison after he previously pleaded guilty to a charge of second-degree counterfeiting.
His ex-wife, Ana Del LaMota, 45, was placed on probation for three years and was ordered to make restitution in an amount that has yet to be determined. She had pleaded guilty to a count of third-degree counterfeiting.
The couple’s daughter, Rossy Robles, 23, was admitted to the Pre-Trail Intervention program after she pleaded guilty to a third-degree counterfeiting charge. She will serve a three-year term under PTI, and must remain offense-free and gainfully employed.
The terms were imposed on March 2, 2015 in New Brunswick by Superior Court Judge Michael A. Toto after the family members pleaded guilty on January 2, 2015 under agreements reached with Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley and Middlesex County Assistant Prosecutor Tzvi Dolinger.
The guilty pleas were entered after the family members were arrested and charged on December 22, 1014, following an intensive investigation conducted by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the United States Department of Homeland Security, the United States Postal Inspector and the New Jersey Department of Treasury.
During the investigation, dubbed Operation Big Make-up Art Cosmetics, it was determined that the family, with assistance from other, unidentified individuals, imported hundreds of pounds of counterfeit cosmetics from China and illegally peddled their wares as Make-up Art Cosmetics, a high-end, leading brand of professional cosmetics, which is part of the Estee Lauder Companies.
It was further determined that the defendants would then sell the counterfeit cosmetics in New York to retailers and through an online retailer under the business name of Baby Castle.
The investigation further determined that the daughter was involved in selling counterfeit MAC items, and had her own internet retail business.
At the time of their arrests, the defendants were in possession of approximately 2,000 counterfeit items, as well as $22,000 in cash.
The investigation spanned several years.
Prosecutor Carey thanked the numerous law enforcement agencies that took part in the investigation and warned the public that counterfeit items may be offered to the public at a lucrative price, but cost less because they pose a variety of potential safety issues.
“We will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to target similar criminal activity that threatens the safety of our citizens and provides an outlet for an underground black market,” Prosecutor Carey said.
Prosecutor Carey also singled out individuals for their extensive work on the case. Included are Sergeant Michael Daniewicz and Detective Linda Infusino, both of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, and Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees, who was assisted by Supervisory Special Agent Sophia Ciaccio, Special Agent Brad Greenberg and Criminal Research Specialist Michelle Delahanty.
Prosecutor Carey also credited United States Postal Inspector in Charge Maria Kelokates, who was assisted by U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Macdonald. Both are assigned to the Newark Division.
In addition, Prosecutor Carey credited representatives of the New Jersey Department of Treasury/Office of Criminal Investigation, including Special Agent in Charge Charles Giblin, Supervising Criminal Forensic Auditor Debra Lewaine, and Auditor Kevin Curry.