Arrests made over fake Obama sneakers

April 25, 2009 at 12:37 PM
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NEW YORK, April 25 (UPI) -- Six people have been arrested in New York for the alleged sale of fake Nike sneakers adorned with U.S. President Barack Obama's image, authorities say.

Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said Friday's arrest of six knockoff product dealers on charges of counterfeiting and trademark infringement came after investigators found the fake Obama shoes in storage bins, the New York Daily News said.

"It's frankly just disrespectful to have the president of the United States depicted on this sneaker," Hynes said of the discovered products. "Just absolutely disgraceful."

State and city authorities have been working together in a yearlong sting operation to uncover counterfeit merchandise. More than 100,000 pieces of the fake items were recovered as a result of the lengthy investigation, authorities said.

While presidents can give permission for their likenesses to be used in products, Obama did not give the suspects permission to place his image on the sneakers.

The Daily News said if the unidentified suspects are convicted on all charges, they could each face up to four years in prison.

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