NYC trio stole company identity, pilfered 250K pairs of pants
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NYC trio stole company identity, pilfered 250K pairs of pants

May 08, 2023

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They got caught with their pants down.

Three men were indicted over a scheme in which they allegedly stole more than 250,000 pairs of jeans and joggers worth over $2 million, Manhattan prosecutors said Wednesday.

Joseph Sanchez — a since-suspended lawyer from China — is accused alongside brothers Toney and Rex Chiu of assuming the identity of a Manhattan-based importing company to place the trouser order, billing it to the real business.

Sanchez, who had in the past provided legal services to home furnishing importer Mod Society, LLC, stole its corporate documents and information to create a fake business under the same name, according to the Manhattan District Attorney's Office.

The Chiu brothers, of Long Island, used Mod Society's information to trick manufacturers into shipping them clothing on the company's tab, prosecutors alleged.

The trio stole a total of 253,884 pairs of Indigo People brand pants, which are sold on Amazon and were worth $2,004,696, the DA's Office confirmed.

Tony, of Mineola, NY, and Rex, of Albertson, NY, then allegedly sold the pilfered goods to wholesale companies for a total of $750,000.

The three defendants were charged in a 79-count indictment with conspiracy, identity theft, forgery and criminal possession of a forged instrument. The Chius are also each charged with falsifying business records.

Sanchez, 55, was picked up by authorities in California while on his way to a flight from San Francisco to Phoenix, Arizona, Assistant District Attorney Mao Yu Lin said in Manhattan Supreme Court on Wednesday.

He said Sanchez "was the attorney for that company and had taken the information for the company — [under] false pretenses."

Sanchez on Feb. 28, 2017, shared Mod Society's corporate documents — such as tax records, a company identification number and other records — with the Chius, prosecutors alleged.

He then set up a fake website and company email addresses sending order agreements to manufacturers to receive items on credit, the DA's Office claimed.

The manufacturers believed they were doing business with a legitimate company and shipped the items to a warehouse in California, prosecutors said.

"None of the overseas manufacturers were paid," Yu Lin said at Sanchez's arraignment.

Sanchez pleaded not guilty.

His lawyer John Falcone asked the judge to release his client without bail, noting that he has no prior arrests and is a six-year veteran of the US Air Force.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Althea Drysdale agreed to spring Sanchez on the conditions that he can only travel within New York and must wear a GPS monitor.

Rex and Tony Chiu pleaded not guilty at their arraignments in April and were both released without bail.

The crimes the three men were charged with are not bail eligible, according to the DA's Office

"This alleged deception affected a Manhattan-based company that entrusted its attorney with its business dealings," District Attorney Alvin Bragg said in a statement.

"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."