A LITTLE MORE THAN A MASSAGE

A local Police Department was investigating a massage parlor that was offering a little more than regular massages, if you know what I mean. The business was a full service establishment that offered counterfeit merchandise along with their other extracurricular activities. The “working ladies” not only offered customers their personal services, but as you exited the establishment, you would also be able to select the counterfeit item or items of your choice. It was very clear that the “ladies” believed in customer service. This is another great example of counterfeit goods being related to other crimes.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

Happy Turkey Day!!!

Happy Thanksgiving from the IC Team! In this time of giving thanks, we want to give thanks to those members of the law enforcement community and members of the military who risk their lives on a daily basis. They put their lives on the line every time they put on that uniform and never asked for anything in return. These heroes deserve our respect and gratitude. Without these heroes, our country would not be what it is today. I hope that we all can learn to truly show our gratitude to these heroes on a daily basis and support them to the fullest.

Heroes like Marko Tinoco, who is now back in the Middle East protecting our freedom, deserve special recognition. Thanks to everyone that serves and to you Marko!

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

THE THIRD TIME IS THE CHARM…OR IS IT??

Some of these criminals and their crime partner’s don’t get it. A Deputy of The Los Angeles County Sheriff‟s Department COPS Bureau learned that recently when he hit the same store for the third time. Turns out the owner of the store that was arrested twice previously for the sales of counterfeit goods and other crimes was “away” on a paid vacation, provided by the LASD. His brother decided to run the shop for him while he was away on his “vacation.” Well, I guess the brothers are birds of a feather and just don’t get it. The owner’s brother ended up selling counterfeit merchandise to an undercover investigator on a few different occasions. During the transactions, he readily admitted the items were counterfeit. Needless to say, the Deputy handled business and provided a free ride for the subject to the county jail where the brothers were reunited. The Deputy in charge of the investigation is more than just a fine law enforcement Officer, he is also reuniting family members and bringing them closer together. The Deputy is tenacious and will likely continue to hit the store until they give up selling counterfeit goods.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

Shoe Repair Shop in San Diego Hit Again!

The San Diego Police Department strikes again. The first time around, The San Diego PD recovered over 2 million dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise from what on the surface appeared to be a small shoe repair shop. The second time, they collected just over half a million dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise. The husband and wife team had been arrested a few months prior and they had agreed to accept a plea agreement in the first case, however, that is when law enforcement learned that they were once again selling counterfeit merchandise. Investigators made multiple undercover purchases from the location and detectives obtained a second search warrant for the location. Detectives served the warrant two days before the subjects were due in court to be sentenced on the first case. This counterfeit couple is like so many others, who just can’t walk away from the counterfeit business because of how lucrative it is. The lure of “quick & easy” money is too much for some of these people. This will not change until these people believe counterfeiting is no longer worth the risk.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

CRAIGSLIST CASE LEADS TO COUNTERFEIT POLICE BADGES, IDENTIFICATION AND MORE

What started as a case of counterfeit watches being sold on Craigslist has turned into something much more interesting. The Anaheim Police Department’s Vice Unit recently completed a case where they located much more than counterfeit goods. The Detectives obtained a search warrant for the home of the subject who had been identified as selling counterfeit watches. What they did not expect to find, was the cache of counterfeit police badges and identifications. Detectives located several badges, police identifications, exempt plates, uniforms, and other interesting things. The subject had made fake police Identifications from the LAPD, LA County Sheriff’s Department, and the Beverly Hills PD in his name and with his photo on them.

The subject is an extremely interesting character, if you know what I mean. During the course of the undercover investigation, the subject told the undercover investigator that he used the police badges to get free food and get out of tickets. It is suspected that the subject may have been up to other things also. The Anaheim PD did a great job putting the case together and getting this person into the system. The subject was convicted of trademark counterfeiting.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

If You Sell Counterfeit, You Will Go to Jail

When Officers from the LAPD’s Central Division arranged to conduct a counterfeiting taskforce action near Santee Alley recently, they came across something very strange and more than they bargained for. Officers targeted several locations that were involved in the sales and distribution of counterfeit handbags, wallets, sunglasses, and other accessory items during their taskforce efforts. Officers entered one of the locations and located a “Voodoo” type shrine hidden near the rear of the location. Inside the shrine were toy police cars, a toy police helicopter, handcuffs, a bear trap, feathers, a machete, and a vile of what appeared to be blood. The shrine was surrounded by candles and bottles of liquor.

It appeared that the shrine was in some way meant to keep law enforcement away from the location, so the counterfeiters could sell their wares without fear of being arrested. The owner of the shrine and the other people involved, all appeared to be from the West African nation of Gambia. Gambia is the smallest country in Africa and is surrounded by the country of Senegal. The LAPD arrested three subjects during the investigation. The subjects arrested had all been involved in the sales of counterfeit goods in the past and are part of a larger organization of counterfeiters that distribute large quantities of counterfeit goods. The LAPD located records indicating that the subjects obtained their counterfeit merchandise from various sources in New York. The group would then sell the goods locally in Los Angeles; however, they were also shipping large quantities of counterfeit goods to Nevada, Georgia, Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina via UPS. LAPD also located several letters that appeared to have been written by an employee of the location, who was an 18th Street Gang member and used the moniker “Sniper” to another 18th Street gang member that was in prison. All in all, if you sell counterfeit, you will go to jail.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

DON’T MESS WITH A MONSTER

Monster Cable has become extremely aggressive in their efforts to combat the sales of their counterfeit headphones and cables. That’s why when they received the word that a subject was selling counterfeit headphones from a kiosk at a high end mall in Los Angeles, they were outraged. This was also the prime holiday shopping season. The kiosk was located directly in front of an Apple store. During the investigation, it was learned that the subjects operating the kiosk were also selling counterfeit cell phone cases and covers. Law enforcement jumped on the case and took immediate action. Law enforcement arrested the owner of the kiosk and his employee. The sales of counterfeit merchandise in venues like this truly do damage the sales of the legitimate brand owners and other legitimate stores in the area. The sale of counterfeit merchandise at kiosks in otherwise legitimate locations is a growing trend throughout the country. The items range from headphones, cell phone covers, jewelry, belt buckles, watches, pet items and anything else you can think of. Law enforcement’s efforts in these types of cases are usually greatly welcomed by the legitimate business owners in the area that feel that the counterfeiters are “stealing” sales away from them.

By Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants