Wantagh men nabbed in alleged ‘Frankenstein’ phone scam

Posted: Updated:
WANTAGH -

Two Wantagh men are under arrest after being accused of peddling cellphones put together with inferior and counterfeit parts to unsuspecting customers.

At a news conference Thursday, local and federal investigators laid out hundreds of seized Apple and Samsung “Frankenstein phones” along with $1 million in cash they seized from brothers-in-law Sumesh Pasricha, 48, and Gurcharan Luthra, 37.

Prosecutors say they were smuggling the counterfeit goods from China into John F. Kennedy International Airport.

Authorities say they would keep the phones at an office on Wantagh Avenue until they could resell them online.

“They went out of their way to outfit boxes with fake labels and even serial numbers,” said Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas. “To the layman's eye, I think all of you would agree they all look real.”

Agents with Customs and Border Protection say they have the sharp eye to spot the fakes. The investigation started in November when sketchy shipments of Apple earbuds were heading to Wantagh. Authorities say Apple would never ship direct to a warehouse in New York.

At the Wantagh office, people who work on the same floor as the brothers-in-law say they thought something was odd about the duo after a vast amount of boxes started showing up.

Prosecutors say the two men have no prior arrests. They were arraigned on counterfeiting charges and released without having to post bail.

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