The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s CAPE Team worked side by side with The Intellectual Property Rights Group from HSI and served warrants at multiple locations in Los Angeles and Montclair.
IC Investigators had identified a group of individuals that were operating a counterfeit ring distributing counterfeit clothing and luxury goods. Investigators had learned the subjects were operating a warehouse in Downtown Los Angeles and were storing additional goods at a public storage facility in Montclair.
One of the subjects was selling counterfeit goods at a local swap meet and maintaining a low profile, leading many to believe that she was just a small time swap meet vendor, however the truth was that she was part of a major organization and just used the swap meet as a means to develop additional wholesale customers.
Counterfeiters are not always who they “appear” to be. Over the years, we have seen counterfeiters do a great job at masking who they really are and how deeply involved they really are in the counterfeit trade.
Federal agents were able to get an introduction into one of the master minds of the organization and they were able to identify the counterfeit network and where they had stored all their counterfeit goods. Federal search warrants were obtained and served at all the locations involved in the counterfeit ring.
The search lead to the seizure of over a million dollars in counterfeit goods and the arrests of the two primary subjects. One of the subjects had multiple prior state convictions for trademark counterfeiting and was eventually sentenced to two years in federal prison and he will likely be deported after he serves his time. The second subject was also convicted and sentenced to a year in federal custody.
This case was a great example of federal and state agencies working together to take down a major organization.
Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants