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Health product counterfeiting ring busted in Nassau, officials say

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice announces a takedown

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice announces a takedown of a major counterfeiting operation on March 7, 2014 in Mineola. Credit: Howard Schnapp

A multimillion dollar counterfeiting ring of popular brand name health products, including Johnson & Johnson baby oil and Pfizer's Chapstick, run out of five Nassau locations was uncovered by fire officials on a routine check, prosecutors said Friday.

Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice told reporters some labels were so genuine looking that she probably would not have known the products -- including Vaseline, Vicks VapoRub, and Always sanitary pads -- were fakes.

The ring was led by brothers Pardeep Malik, 59, of Plainview, and Hamant Mullick, 60, of Franklin Square, prosecutors said. Both were arrested Thursday on felony counterfeiting charges. The operation employed about 20 people.

Labs are determining whether the counterfeits, sold at small and large stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Florida, pose health risks.

Over-the-counter cold medicines and painkillers also were counterfeited, Rice said, but offered no additional details.

"What's so disturbing about this is that they are counterfeiting products, baby oil, people are putting on babies' bodies, and lip balm on their own bodies," Rice said.

"These products were done with a level of professionalism that is absolutely frightening," Rice said.

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