State employee arrested, charged with trademark counterfeiting, larceny

ALBANY, N.Y. – A state employee in Albany faces charges of offering counterfeit goods on the internet and falsifying his timesheets to enable him to conduct his illegal activities on state time.

New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott announced the indictment of Wajahat Ali Abbasi, 37 of Watervliet. The timesheet falsification amounted to an alleged $38,000 theft of state services.

“Those who work in the public sector and provide services for the people of the state of New York are expected to accomplish their work duties in a responsible and law abiding fashion,” said Inspector General Scott.  “The defendant allegedly abused his position and authority by trafficking in illegal goods on the Internet while on state time.  He will be held accountable not only for this activity but also for the falsification of his time and attendance records, which amounts to a larcenous theft from the state.”

Abbasi was indicted with one count of felony trademark counterfeiting in the first-degree, two felony counts of trademark counterfeiting in the second-degree, and one felony count of grand larceny in the third-degree. He was also charged with 53 counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, a felony, for the falsification of time and attendance records, resulting in a more than $38,000 theft of state services between November 2012 through December 2014.

Inspector General Scott’s investigation revealed that Abbasi, an employee of the New York State Office of Information Technology Services, claimed to have worked 1,100 hours when in fact he was not present at his workstation. Investigators found approximately $219,000 in counterfeit goods in his possession. The counterfeit goods consisted of imitation cellular telephone and electronic tablet cases purportedly made by such well-established companies as Griffin, OtterBox and UAG.

Abbasi is alleged to have conducted his business between November 2012 and December 2014, using numerous bank accounts, corporations and Amazon and eBay storefronts, some associated with fraudulent names and mailing addresses. The goods were purchased in China, and shipped to and stored at Abbasi’s residence.  Inspector General Scott said these companies have been fully cooperating in the investigation.

Abbasi was arraigned in Albany County Court.

 

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