The Official Website of the Louisiana Department of Revenue
ATC agents arrest Lafayette-area business owner in counterfeiting investigation
On Friday, May 1, 2009, Agents with the State Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control (ATC) Division of the Louisiana Department of Revenue arrested a Lafayette-area convenience store owner on charges related to the illegal sales of counterfeit Nike shoes and fraudulent activities related to tobacco sales. Mohamed A.M. Alshamam was taken into custody pursuant to an investigation which revealed that he and his business partners were selling counterfeit Nike tennis shoes. According to agents, the crimes occurred at the suspect’s business which was identified as USA Express Inc located at 1317 E. Pinhook Rd Lafayette, La.
The Investigative Services Unit of ATC began the investigation after the shoes were observed during routine inspections by ATC Agents assigned to the Lafayette regional field office. The agents made undercover purchases and received confirmation from the Nike Corporation that the items were counterfeit. In December of 2008 ATC and the Attorney Generals office executed a search warrant at USA Express Inc. and seized over 430 pairs of suspected counterfeit Nike shoes.
The investigation also uncovered evidence suggesting that the store owners misrepresented the amount of tobacco being sold by USA Express. Tobacco permit renewal applications submitted to ATC by USA Express, Inc. reported that the business sold approximately $3,000 to $4,000 in tobacco products annually over the course of the past three years. However, Alshaman admitted to agents that the business actually sold approximately $10,000 in tobacco each month which would bring the total tobacco sales to approximately $120,000 per year.
Evidence suggests that the majority of the USA Express, Inc.’s sales were generated from illegal activity. Business records indicate that the owners laundered over $200,000 in funds generated from illegal trademark sales and tobacco application fraud. In addition to the phony products and the fraudulent tobacco sales figures, Alshaman also admitted to investigators that he was not collecting sales tax during sales transactions that involved the counterfeit items.
Agents have also issued arrest warrants for Alshaman’s two business partners identified as Ali Abdulwali Saleh and Qusem M Al Shaibi. Evidence obtained during the investigation revealed that they also participated and received funds from the scheme.
S/A Sasha Hyderkhan
Public Information Officer, Training and Support Services Unit
Louisiana Office of Alcohol and Tobacco Control
Developed and Maintained by Louisiana Department of Revenue