Retailer Sentenced to Prison Discovers Fake Nikes Do Not Constitute "West African Art"


A True Fashion Crime: Sponge Bob Air Jordans
  • A True Fashion Crime: Sponge Bob Air Jordans
Passaro Frango, the St. Louis business owner charged this year with possession of multiple "trailer loads" of counterfeit merchandise, was sentenced today to two years in prison. 

Frango, of University City, owned West African Art, at 2623 Cherokee Street in south St. Louis, and F&A Fashions, at 6212 Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Wellston.  

In 2008 based on information that the West African Art store was selling counterfeit goods, the St. Louis Metropolitan Police obtained a search warrant and discovered a semi-tractor trailer load of counterfeit goods. 

Among the fake merchandise seized from the businesses were items bearing the marks of numerous manufacturers, including Apple Bottom, Polo Ralph Lauren, Coach, True Religion, Timberland, Baby Phat, Roca Wear and many others.  

The total infringement value of the seized goods exceeds $1,000,000.

Due to the volume of contraband goods, the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement became involved.  Their subsequent investigation revealed that Frango had multiple Missouri identification cards, as well as bank accounts and business facilities in different names.  

The investigation led to the seizure of two more trailer loads of counterfeit goods.