Feds Seize Counterfeit ‘Opium’ Cologne
NEW YORK (AP) _ Federal authorities say they have seized more than $1.5 million worth of counterfeit Opium spray cologne and arrested two men on charges of selling the phony fragrance.
The cologne was seized at a factory in New Jersey and during an undercover sale involving Customs agents in a hotel parking lot near Kennedy Airport on Tuesday, U.S. Attorney Andrew J. Maloney of Brooklyn said Wednesday.
Authorities said it was unclear how much of bogus fragrance had been distributed to retail outlets.
″The loss is larger than the retail value because the unsuspecting customer would think it’s real Opium and when the scent doesn’t last as long on the body or smell as nice as ours it would have to have a an adverse affect on our image and the trademark,″ said Patrick E. Boland, trademark counsel for Yves St. Laurent, which manufactures the perfume.
The phony fragrance was packaged in a 25-milliliter bottles and in outer boxes identical to those used for the authentic cologne.
Company officials said the spray cologne is the smallest, best-selling and most easily counterfeited item in the Opium fragrance line. Its retail value is $32.
Temel Cipa, 43, of New York, and Garo Torik, 38, an Armenian living in Belgium and visiting the United States, were charged with trafficking in counterfeit merchandise, said Assistant U.S. Attorney Gordon Mehler.
If convicted, they face up to 15 years in jail and a $250,000 fine.
During the undercover buy, agents seized 14,664 bottles of phony Opium worth $600,000 and 3,024 bottles of phony Giorgio perfume worth $200,000 was inside a rented truck driven by Cipa, Mehler said.
Cipa and Torik were also arrested in the parking lot.
A search of a factory in Nutley, N.J., turned up more counterfeit Opium fragrance worth $1 million, authorities said.