A man who pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit merchandise is scheduled to be sentenced Wednesday in U.S. District Court.
Yan Chen, 68, of Cave City, pleaded guilty to two counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods and three counts of aiding/assisting in preparing false returns to the IRS.
Federal prosecutors accused Chen of selling off-brand clothing, technology, perfume, watches, wallets and other items in 2016 at Flea Land in Bowling Green and at Retail and Wholesale Market in Cave City.
The goods carried labels purporting to be from brands such as Apple, Burberry, Michael Kors, Nike Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi, Under Armour, Dolce & Gabbana, North Face and other well-known companies.
Chen also admitted preparing tax returns for the years 2013-15 that underreported his business income and gross receipts each year.
Chen’s attorney, Mark Chandler, filed a sentencing memorandum with the court that requests Chen not be incarcerated.
Chandler argued that imprisonment would be exceedingly harsh in this case because Chen’s age makes him “vulnerable to victimization, abuse and adjust problems in prison.”
Chen is also unable to communicate effectively in English, which Chandler said would add to his difficulties in prison. In court proceedings, Chen used an interpreter.
“Mr. Chen will be essentially deprived of all meaningful human communication should he be imprisoned,” Chandler said in his filing. “His ability to communicate with staff and fellow inmates to alert them of problems or health issues would be virtually nil ... linguistic isolation is likened to solitary confinement in its effect.”
Assistant U.S. Attorney David Weiser has asked for a two-year prison term for Chen.
Weiser filed a sentencing memorandum Thursday in which he said the retail price of the counterfeit items seized in the investigation exceeded $2.2 million.
“Chen not only intentionally sold counterfeit goods, he also intentionally hid gross receipts and income from his tax preparer, resulting in a tax loss of over $270,000 for tax years 2013, 2014 and 2015,” Weiser said in the memorandum.
Weiser has also asked that U.S. District Court Chief Judge Greg Stivers direct Chen to pay $272,726 in restitution.
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