Former Toy Importers Plead Guilty to Selling Hazardous Toys
A New York couple pled guilty last week to importing children's toys that violated the Consumer Product Safety Act (CPSA) and contained copyright infringing images.
Chenglan Hu, 52, and Hua Fei Zhang, 53, of Bayside, N.Y., pled guilty to violating the CPSA by importing toys that contained unsafe lead and phthalates levels, small parts that presented choking, aspiration or ingestion risks, easily accessible battery compartments and other potential hazards. Additionally, they confessed to importing toys with counterfeit trademarks of popular characters, such as Winnie the Pooh, Dora the Explorer and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, as well as those from movies, including “Cars,” “Toy Story” and “High School Musical.”
“In a criminal twist on a toy story, the defendants made millions importing dangerous, knock-off toys that put children in harm’s way,” said Assistant Attorney General Leslie R. Caldwell of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “The defendants used a continuously shifting series of corporate entities in an effort to stay one step ahead of law enforcement. But their game has now come to an end. The Department of Justice is committed to stopping those who would smuggle hazardous, counterfeit goods into the United States.”
“For eight years, the defendants lined their pockets while putting at risk the health of our children by smuggling dangerous and copyright-infringing toys into the United States," added U. S. Attorney Loretta E. Lynch of the Eastern District of New York. "[Wednesday's] guilty pleas signify the end of this dangerous pipeline from China. We will continue to be vigilant and prosecute those who would smuggle dangerous and unlawful items into our country and neighborhoods.”
Between July 2005 and January 2013, Hu, Zhang and other individuals used their companies—Family Product USA Inc., H.M. Import USA Corp., ZCY Trading Corp., Zone Import Corp. and ZY Wholesale Inc.—to import toys from China and sell the products from a Ridgewood, N.Y. storefront and warehouse, as well as additional Brooklyn and Queens, N.Y. locations.