Washington: An Indian national has pleaded guilty to the charges of selling counterfeit cigarettes in the United States.
Gaurav Joseph Jayaseelan, 25, faces several years of imprisonment and a fine of up to USD 250,000 for this, the Department of Justice said yesterday.
Jayaseelan pleaded guilty to selling and dispensing and causing the sale and dispensing of a counterfeit tobacco product, cigarettes, the labelling of which bore the trade name of Newport cigarettes.
The counterfeit marks false marks identical to and substantially indistinguishable from the marks of the legitimate manufacturer of Newport brand cigarettes, which were in use by and registered to the manufacturer on the principal register of the US Patent and Trademark Office.
"This case represents our relentless commitment to stopping international rings of counterfeiters from jeopardising products used by American consumers," US Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer said.
"A key part of FDA's mission is to protect consumers from counterfeit products -- including cigarettes -- that the agency regulates," said Robert J West, Acting Special Agent in Charge, FDA Office of Criminal Investigations' Miami Field Office.
"We will continue to focus our efforts and resources on removing harmful counterfeit products from the US marketplace," he said.