Two North Shore brothers and an attorney have been indicted on felony charges related to stealing over 250,000 pairs of pants worth over $2,000,000, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg said.
Tony Chiu, 64, of Mineola and Rex Chiu, 65, of Albertson, allegedly operated a six-year-old scheme alongside a now-suspended attorney, Joseph Sanchez, 55, of China, authorities said in a press release Wednesday.
Sanchez, who had provided legal services for Manhattan-based home furnishings importer Mod Societe LLC, stole the company’s information to induce overseas manufacturers to ship clothing to the United States on their credit, according to court documents.
The three are named in a 79-count indictment that includes conspiracy, identity theft and forgery charges, among other things, prosecutors said.
“This alleged deception affected a Manhattan-based company that entrusted its attorney with its business dealings. The defendants — including this formerly licensed attorney who had an ethical and professional responsibility to act with honesty — allegedly lied again and again to enrich themselves,” said Bragg in a statement. “We protect New Yorkers and companies based in Manhattan, a global financial capital, from fraud.”
Prosecutors allege that in February 2017 Sanchez shared Mod Societe’s business records with the Chiu brothers before directing a staffer to purchase a website URL named “mod-societe.com.”
After getting manufacturers to ship the clothes to a warehouse in California using email addresses for fictitious company employees, the brothers sold them to wholesale companies, authorities said.
Tony and Rex received approximately $750,000 in payment for the illegally-obtained clothing through wire transfers to Play Market, the brothers’ company, authorities said.
Over $250,000 worth of pants, mostly denim and jogging pants, valued at over $2,000,000 were stolen, according to the press release.
Tony Chiu pleaded not guilty at his April arraignment while Rex’s arraignment was adjourned at the time. Both are expected back in court on July 11, according to court records.