Counterfeit Clothing Bust Snags 9

Roughly $150,000 worth of knock-off items seized, officials say

By BJ Lutz
|  Saturday, Apr 16, 2011  |  Updated 2:30 PM CDT
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Ali Shaheen, 27, and Said Aljuba, 30, both of Chicago Ridge, face felony counterfeiting charges.

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If you bought some Nike's or Timberland's lately, you may have some knock-offs.

Eight men and a woman have been charged in connection with alleged counterfeit clothing ring  being run out of stores in Chicago and the suburbs, the Cook County Sheriff’s office announced Saturday.

Officials said their investigation kicked off in early March after receiving a tip. Over the course of several weeks, agents with the Cook County Sheriff's Police Special Operations Unit conducted surveillance and undercover purchases, and determined the nine suspects -- who were either related or friends -- were engaged in illegal counterfeiting sales.

Most of the apparel items sold in their stores bore the counterfeit trademarks of Nike, Timberland and Major League Baseball, they said.

Detectives this week raided five businesses owned by the men and seized more than 4,000 items including shoes, jackets, hats and shirts with an estimated value of $150,000.

The five stores raided included Oak Park Tobacco & More, at 6319 W. North Ave., Oak Park; State Street Discount, in the 7100 block of South State Street; North Avenue Discount, at 5540 W. North Ave.; Chicago Avenue Discount, in the 5600 block of West Chicago Avenue; and Madison Discount Store, in the 5100 block of West Madison Street.

Two men, Ali Shaheen, 27, and Said Aljuba, 30, both of Chicago Ridge, were charged with felonies and appeared in Cook County Criminal court Thursday.

Shaheen was charged with three felony counts of counterfeiting and was ordered held on $30,000 bond. Aljuba was charged with two felony counts of counterfeiting and ordered held on a $20,000 bond, officials said.

They're both scheduled to appear for a preliminary hearing on April 20.

Seven others were charged with misdemeanors.

Samer Assad, 37, of the 4000 block of West Barry Avenue in Chicago was charged three misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting. 

Those charged with two misdemeanor counts of counterfeiting include Hazem Nasir, 48, of the 16000 block of Laurel Drive in Orland Park; Muhamad Nakhlek, 19, of the 9200 block of South 50th Avenue in Oak Lawn and Mohammed Zaben, 33, of the 4300 block of West Belmont Avenue in Chicago.

Iman Shahin, 26, of the 10600 block of South Parkside Avenue and Amer Alomari, 34, of the 5600 block of West Eastwood Avenue, both of Chicago, as well as Jalal Zayed, 36, of the 10500 block of Major Avenue in Chicago Ridge were each charged with one misdemeanor count of counterfeiting.

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