Suburban men charged in multimillion-dollar counterfeit sports cap operation
Two men face felony charges stemming from what Wheeling police say was a multimillion-dollar operation to produce counterfeit sports caps, many with professional team logos.
June Lee, 54, of the 400 block of Castlewood Lane in Buffalo Grove, and Hyung Kim, 64, of the 17000 block of Braewick Drive near Gurnee, are charged with violation of the Counterfeit Trademark Act. The charge is a felony punishable by a maximum four to 15 years in prison.
Wheeling Deputy Police Chief Joseph Licari said the operation even produced caps celebrating the Kansas City Chiefs' victory this month in Super Bowl 54.
Police said a tip launched an investigation that began in Wheeling and ended Tuesday with a raid at a building on the 1200 block of Rand Road in Des Plaines.
Authorities said they found three large, sophisticated machines used to produce the custom headwear in the building and seized about 125,000 baseball-style caps. The hats had an estimated retail value of at least $2.5 million, police said.
About 40,000 of them featured logos from NHL, NBA, MLB and NFL teams.
Licari said the caps were sold at roadside stands across the Chicago area. Bulls, Blackhawks, Bears and Cubs hats in a variety of styles were among those seized in the operation.
"It was excellent quality," Licari said of the hats. "Good quality stuff."
Wheeling police investigators worked the case with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and also received some assistance from Des Plaines police, authorities said.