United States Attorney Scott N. Schools announced that Johnny Lee Tan was sentenced on August 30, 2007 to 18 months in prison for money laundering and that Kevin Pua was sentenced to a five-year term of probation for conspiracy. The convictions grew out of the men’s participation in a scheme to sell counterfeit “designer” handbags on eBay and elsewhere from approximately 2001 to 2004. A hearing to determine the amount of restitution to be paid to victims who purchased the counterfeit items has been set for November 1, 2007. This sentence is the result of an investigation by the United States Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Mr. Tan pleaded guilty on February 8, 2007 to one count of money laundering. According to the plea agreement, Mr. Tan admitted to assisting his sister, Nancy Tan Pua, in her business of selling counterfeit women’s “designer” handbags over the Internet (including on eBay). Tan also admitted to setting up a bank account in his name for the purpose of concealing and disguising the nature, location, source, ownership, and control of the proceeds of Nancy Tan Pua’s sales of counterfeit merchandise over the Internet. In all, Tan admitted to laundering more than $210,000.
Mr. Pua pleaded guilty on December 14, 2006 to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud, to commit wire fraud, and to traffick in counterfeit goods. Mr. Pua admitted to providing Nancy Tan Pua, his mother, with assistance similar to that which was provided by Mr. Tan.
Mr. Tan, 45, and Mr. Pua, 28, of Daly City, CA, were indicted by a federal grand jury on January 12, 2006. Mr. Tan was charged with conspiracy and trafficking in counterfeit goods. Mr. Pua was charged with conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud, and trafficking in counterfeit goods. On October 17, 2006, a federal grand jury returned a Superseding Indictment that added money laundering charges against Mr. Tan.
Nancy Tan Pua also pleaded guilty on February 7, 2006 to one count each of mail fraud, wire fraud, trafficking in counterfeit goods, and money laundering. Ms. Pua’s sentencing is currently set for December 6, 2007 at 2:30 p.m.
The investigation was initiated by the Washington, D.C., field office of the FBI in response to a complaint from eBay regarding the use of its website to sell counterfeit merchandise. The FBI’s investigation revealed that the individuals responsible for selling the counterfeit merchandise were located in Daly City, CA. The investigation was continued and expanded in the Bay Area by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Internal Revenue Service.
The sentence was handed down by U.S. District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White following a guilty plea by Kevin Pua on one count of conspiracy in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 371 and following a guilty plea by Johnny Lee Tan on one count of money laundering in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(a)(1)(B)(i). Judge White also sentenced the defendant Tan to a three-year period of supervised release. In accordance with federal law, the court set November 1, 2007 as a date for entering a final restitution order. The defendant Johnny Lee Tan will begin serving the sentence on December 3, 2007.
Kyle F. Waldinger is the Assistant U.S. Attorney who is prosecuting the case with the assistance of Ponly Tu. The prosecution is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Internal Revenue Service, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.