Today’s news:

Bellerose seller of faux fashion found guilty of counterfeiting

A Bellerose woman was convicted last week of selling high-end counterfeit goods out of her Jamaica store, the Queens district attorney said.

Ai G. Zhang, 41, of Country Pointe Circle faces up to 15 years in prison when she is scheduled to be sentenced Dec. 20 for her conviction on trademark counterfeiting charges, Queens DA Richard Brown said.

Zhang reaped thousands by selling clothing and accessories that bore the logos of brand names, such as Nike and Gucci, when in fact they were knock-offs, according to Brown.

“The holiday season is a busy time for trademark counterfeiters and consumers should exercise caution when shopping for a bargain,” he said in a statement.

Zhang sold her goods out of a store at 161-11 Jamaica Ave., the DA said. In 2006, undercover officers entered her establishment and she offered them phony Gucci sneakers for $20, Louis Vuitton handbags for $18 and Nike sneakers for $21, according to Brown.

The officers placed an order for more than $2,300 worth of goods and the business owner instructed them to come to a Queens Village location where she would give them the merchandise, Brown said. Zhang drove to her home and other locations in Queens where she was observed loading her car with the fake goods before delivering it, the DA said.

She sold fake clothes and accessories to the officers on two more occasions in 2006, according to the DA. A search warrant executed at her home netted more than $175,000 in counterfeit goods, the DA said.

Brown had some harsh words for Zhang’s scam because he said it hurt Queens’ economy.

“Operations such as that run by the defendant fuel an underground economy. They are cash businesses that pay no taxes and rip off both the consumer and the industry by foisting inferior products into the marketplace. Such unauthorized products, which often come from offshore, steal jobs from American workers and revenue from American manufacturers,” he said.

Zhang was convicted in Queens Supreme Court Dec. 7, following a two-week jury trial, Brown said.

“Trademark counterfeiting is neither a victimless nor harmless crime — something the jury in this case obviously understood when they returned a verdict of guilty,” he said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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