NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ - A husband and wife from the Parlin section of Sayreville have been arrested on charges of counterfeiting high-end wrist watches as part of an international operation that netted hundreds of thousands of dollars announced Monday by Middlesex County Prosecutor Andrew C. Carey.
Kam Wa Chan, 51, and his wife Yuet Kai Wong, 47, were arrested at their residence on August 12, 2015 and were charged with counterfeiting, money laundering and conspiracy, all second-degree offenses.
They are being held at the Middlesex County Adult Corrections Center in North Brunswick in lieu of $100,000 bail each.
A search of their home resulted in the seizure of more than 150,000 counterfeit watches, watch parts and equipment used to assemble wrist watches. The retail value of authentic watches was estimated at more than $15 million. Patek Phillippe, Movado, Cartier, and Gucci were among the brands the defendants were counterfeiting.
The investigation, dubbed “Operation Big Time,” was conducted by the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, the United States Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Postal Inspector and the New Jersey Department of Treasury.
The investigation determined the defendants were involved in an international counterfeit trafficking ring that smuggled imitation high-end watches and other items from Hong Kong to New Jersey for assembly and sale.
“Counterfeit operations of this scale are rarely uncovered by law enforcement,” Prosecutor Carey said.
“Reputable companies take great pains to establish their brands; counterfeiters cost those companies billions of dollars. Counterfeiting threatens jobs, undermines consumer confidence and limits innovations. We will continue to partner with other law enforcement agencies to target similar criminal activity that provides an outlet for an underground black market,” Prosecutor Carey said.
He credited Assistant Prosecutor Russell Curley, Assistant Prosecutor Tzvi Dolinger, Sergeant Michael Daniewicz and Detective Ryan Tighe, all of the Middlesex County Prosecutor’s Office, for their work on the case.
Prosecutor Carey also credited Homeland Security Investigations Special Agent in Charge Andrew McLees, and Supervisory Special Agent Sophia Ciaccio and Special Agent Brad Greenberg for their participation.
Also cited by Prosecutor Carey for their assistance were U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Maria Kelokates and U.S. Postal Inspector Brian Macdonald from the Newark Division.
In addition, Prosecutor Carey thanked the New Jersey Department of Treasury/Office of Criminal Investigation under the leadership of Special Agent in Charge Charles Giblin, and Special Agent William Makar for their participation.
As is the case with all criminal defendants, the charges against Chan and Wong are merely accusations and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.