Five people have been charged with trademark counterfeiting in a distribution ring selling thousands of imitation LiveStrong wristbands.
State Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said these are the first criminal prosecutions in New York's ongoing enforcement action against stores offering imitations of the authentic trademarked wristbands that sell for $1 each and help fund the Lance Armstrong Foundation based in Austin, Texas.
The foundation, which provides services to cancer patients, was started by cyclist Lance Armstrong, who recovered from cancer and is the only six-time winner of the Tour de France.
Undercover investigators bought 1,000 counterfeit wristbands in March from a Manhattan storefront operated by Mettime Group, authorities said.
The suspects are Manhattan resident Sui Ping Qu, 48, owner of Mettime, and Queens residents Ding Chai Yi, 42; Xi Chen, 33; Li Ping Liang Chen, 46; and Wei Hua Chen, 50.
They face one to three years in prison if convicted.