Couple accused of roles in counterfeit watch smuggling ring
Prosecutors say a Middlesex County couple was involved in international trafficking ring that smuggled counterfeit high-end wrist watches between Hong Kong and New Jersey.
Kam Wa Chan and his wife Yuet Kai Wong, are each charged with counterfeiting, money laundering and conspiracy. The couple was arrested Wednesday at their Sayreville home, but it was not made public until Monday.
Middlesex County prosecutors say the ring netted hundreds of thousands of dollars.
They say a search of the couple's home uncovered 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 pair were allegedly counterfeiting, according to prosecutors.
"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 Andrew Carey said.
Bail for Chan and Wong was set at $100,000 each.
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.