‘Operation Bad Apples’ nets two Wantagh men

More than $3M in counterfeit merchandise, cash seized


Two Wantagh men were arrested today for dealing in counterfeit cell phones and other fake goods valued at more than $3 million — after a four-month joint federal and local investigation.

More than $1 million in cash, three vehicles and thousands of trademark-infringed cell phones and cell phone components were seized from the defendants' home and nearby warehouse.

Defendants Gurcharan Luthra 37, and Sumesh Pasricha, 48 – both of 1420 Poulson Street in Wantagh – were charged with multiple counts of counterfeiting and Conspiracy.

The two allegedly used counterfeit parts to repair Apple and Samsung cell phones, in their home and warehouse, then packaged the phones in counterfeit packaging and resold them as new.

According to detectives, the investigation was conducted in conjunction with Homeland Security Investigations and US Customs and Border Protection. Detectives targeted inbound shipments from China and discovered counterfeit Apple and Samsung cell phone components and accessories. The shipments were being delivered to a residence at 1420 Poulson Street in Wantagh and to AMS World located at 1228 Wantagh Avenue Suite 204, Wantagh, NY.

The defendants would sell the phones online, through a Facebook Page, and to independent cell phone stores throughout the New York metropolitan area.

The three vehicles seized were: a 2016 Mercedes, and two 2015 Toyotas.

Luhra and Pasricha were arraigned in First District Court in Hempstead yesterday. Gurcharan Luhra is being charged with two counts Counterfeiting 2nd Degree. Sumesh Pasricha is charged with Counterfeiting 2nd Degree and Conspiracy 5th Degree.

Nassau Police Commissioner Patty Ryder suggested that residents who’ve bought cell phones from unauthorized dealers should take them to an authorized dealer, and find out if they’re real. He said the counterfeit components could be dangerous.

District Attorney Singas said today’s arrests were a direct result of

an airport initiative between her office and the police department - along with Homeland Security, Customs and Border Patrol - to stop counterfeit items from coming into the County. She said the counterfeit products were outfitted in boxes with fake labels and serial numbers, and “from a laymen’s eyes, they looked real.”

“Customers thought they were getting authentic items,” Singas continued. “This is about customers spending their hard earned money on expensive items they think are real. The safety procedures are not being followed when these items are being made.”