The U.S. military spent $20 million on parkas that were supposed to counter night vision googles and allow our Air Force personnel to move undetected in combat. Instead, the parkas were counterfeited Chinese products that lacked any night vision capabilities — exposing any troops to detection by the enemy. The persons responsible for this potentially lethal fraud were not just our friends in China but Ramin Kohanbash, 49, and other associates, operating a Brooklyn, New York, clothing and goods wholesaler. They are now criminally charged. If proven, the depravity of this crime is truly overwhelming. Kohanbash allegedly conspired with the Chinese to get rich at the possible cost of the sons and daughters of other Americans who are serving in war zones.
The contract was for U.S. Air Force personnel stationed in Afghanistan. These parkas are supposed to be made from a fabric known as Multicam®, which incorporates specialized near-infrared (“NIR”) management technology designed to make the wearer more difficult to detect with equipment such as night-vision goggles:
“According to the information, two hundred of these counterfeit Multicam® parkas, lacking the critical NIR management technology, were sold to a U.S. Air Force Base Supply Center. Other items carried labels that allegedly made explicit, and false, representations about the product’s safety. In one case, labels on counterfeit hoods intended for military and law enforcement personnel stated that the items were “permanently flame resistant,” and that they met a specific industry standard for flame-resistant attire. In reality, the counterfeit hoods were not flame resistant. “
The charges being brought in Providence, R.I., detail allegations of how Kohanbash provided samples of military uniforms and gear to manufacturers in China to replicate even though federal law requires U.S. manufacturing. The Berry Amendment and the Trade Agreements Act (“TAA”), require that goods sold to the military and certain agencies be manufactured in the United States and certain other designated countries. Kohanbash is accused of providing false certification letters claiming that the goods were made in the U.S.. Kohanbash also alleged misrepresented that the goods met TAA requirements. The Justice Department details how…
“Kohanbash and his co-conspirators provided, reviewed, and approved photographs, descriptions, and samples of tags and labels to be attached to the knockoff products, so that the counterfeit versions appeared legitimate. In many instances, this process allegedly involved copying the trademarks and brand names of actual U.S.-made products and adding them to the foreign counterfeit versions.”
So our military personnel were left in Afghanistan with parkas that were neither flame resistant nor shielded from night vision. The FBI also claims that it seized 1,700 boxes of counterfeit military uniform items that included ponchos, gloves and fleece jackets.