Wholesaler sentenced in conspiracy to sell military and government counterfeit goods

Corrected on Oct. 21 at 2:07 p.m.

A WHOLESALER was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Providence Wednesday for charges related to selling the military, the U.S. government and suppliers of the U.S. government counterfeit Chinese-made goods. / COURTESY CAROL M. HIGHSMITH

PROVIDENCE – Ramin Kohanbash of Brooklyn, N.Y., was sentenced to 40 months in federal prison Wednesday for his role related to the selling of more than $20 million in counterfeit goods to the United States military, government purchasers and companies that supply the U.S. government, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Thursday.

Kohanbash, a clothing and goods wholesaler who faced wire fraud and trafficking in counterfeit goods charges, admitted in U.S. District Court in June 2019 to selling counterfeit goods that the DOJ said included false representations of the products’ safety.

Items included 200 counterfeit parkas of a type used by U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in Afghanistan. The DOJ said that the jackets purported to be made of Multicam, a fabric that is designed to make a wearer more difficult to detect with equipment such as night-vision goggles.

“American servicemen and women risk their lives every day in defense of the nation,” said U.S. Attorney for Rhode Island Zachary Cunha. “But the risks they face should never come from the uniforms they wear and the equipment they carry. In this case, defendants’ actions did exactly that, substituting substandard, foreign-made knockoffs for American products. I am tremendously pleased that the defendants charged in this matter are being held accountable for their actions.”

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Another item was counterfeit hoods that claimed to be flame resistant while not being so. Kohanbash had the goods imported from China, and, with others, worked to make sure that the goods seemed legitimate, including the presentation of false certification letters claiming his goods were U.S. products, and adding trademarks and brand names of U.S.-made products to the imported goods to feign legitimacy.

As part of the sentencing, Kohanbash will also be required to make restitution to the individual companies victimized by his conduct, including a Rhode Island company that reported a loss of more than $639,000 in profits and significant damage to its relationships with long-standing military clients.

Specifics of Kohanbash’s restitution obligations will be determined at a later date.

(CORRECTS sentence in lede paragraph to 40 months.)

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