Two brothers accused of selling $2 million worth of counterfeit health and beauty products seized earlier this month from five Nassau County locations now face new grand jury charges, officials said.
Pardeep Malik, 59, of Plainview, and Hamant Mullick, 60, of Franklin Square, were arraigned Thursday, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.
Malik was charged with two counts each of first-degree and second-degree trademark counterfeiting. Bail was set at $50,000 bond, or $25,000 cash. Mullick was charged with four counts of first-degree trademark counterfeiting. Bail of $100,000 cash or bond from Mullick’s arraignment on March 7 was continued.
Malik and Mullick both pleaded not guilty to the charges, Newsday reported.
When first arrested, they had been each charged with three counts of first-degree trademark counterfeiting and one count of second-degree trademark counterfeiting, the Nassau DA's office said. If convicted of the top charge, the defendants each face up to 15 years in prison, plus fines.
“Those who manufacture and distribute counterfeit goods such as lip balms, shampoos and baby oil are in the business of circumventing not only valuable trademarks and patents, but essential safety standards as well,” Nassau County DA Rice said, in a statement.
“These standards have been put in place to protect consumers from potential harm, which makes our partnership with local and federal officials, as well as industry manufacturers, all the more important,” she added.
Authorities were tipped off to the scheme by Valley Stream Fire Department officials, who were following up on an April fire, said the DA. After discovering what they felt was a counterfeiting operation, they alerted Nassau County Fire Marshals, who then sent samples to manufacturers to verify their authenticity.
The products were confirmed as fakes by manufacturers, who claimed the operation was the biggest operation in the country.
Authorities executed search warrants at five locations in Franklin Square, Oceanside, Freeport, and Valley Stream and found four tractor trailers full of counterfeit products, said the DA. The brothers had manufactured fake products like ChapStick, Johnson’s Baby Oil, Vicks VapoRub, Vicks Inhalers, Vaseline, and Always sanitary pads.
Other over-the-counter cold medicines and painkillers were also discovered in the defendants’ Valley Stream facility but investigators have not found any manufacturing equipment on the premises.
The two were found to be selling the phony products to distributors, who sent the goods to retailers in New York, Pennsylvania, and Florida.Both Malik and Mullick are due back in court on April 4.