Counterfeiters Caught Smuggling Drugs

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Counterfeiters do not only engage in the sales of counterfeit goods, they will do whatever type of criminal activity that will make them money. We have seen time and time again where drug trafficking and counterfeiting are tied together.

The same people selling counterfeits will be the same people that will smuggle drugs.

This group of folks that were arrested smuggling drugs also have had their run ins with the law for selling counterfeit handbags and pirated CDs. The full story can be viewed by visiting our YouTube page: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R-PBn25j-eE&feature=share&list=UUsenSOs0fOULyfLBt5f4Dbw

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ALAMEDA COUNTY SHERIFF’S DEPARTMENT “HOSTS” A PURSE PARTY

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department has been a driving force in pursuing trademark counterfeiting cases in Northern California. Their efforts have been outstanding over the past few years.

The case all started when an observant Investigator observed a sign on the side of a van asking people to host a replica purse party. Not such a bright idea if you are committing a crime and don’t want to be arrested.

Investigators made contact with the subject and made multiple undercover purchases from her. The subject admitted that all the items she was selling were counterfeit and she also stated that she knew it was against the law to be selling the items.

It was learned during the investigation that the subject was hosting her purse parties at high schools, country clubs, charity events, coffee shops, and wineries. It is amazing that the subject was able to sell her illicit goods in such venues, considering that the venues could also be held civilly liable for the activities conducted on their properties.

There have been multiple civil cases against swap meets, flea markets and other property owners for allowing the sale of counterfeit goods on their properties. Several brand owners have secured multimillion dollar awards. Property owners and landlords need to be very diligent to ensure that counterfeit goods are not sold on their properties.

Investigators arranged to “host” a purse party at a local hotel. The subject whole heartedly agreed and showed up for the party with a cache of counterfeit goods. The Alameda County Sheriff’s Department ended the party by seizing all the counterfeit goods and cutting the “party” short.

The efforts in Alameda County have been outstanding.

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Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

JOINT LASD AND HSI INVESTIGATION LEADS TO FEDERAL CONVICTIONS

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

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Gangs and Counterfeiting

The  problem  continues  to  grow  as  gangs  and  other  criminal  organizations  continue  to  realize  that  trademark  counterfeiting,  piracy  and  other  intellectual  property  crimes  present  great  opportunities  to  make  lots  of  cold  hard  cash.

These  criminals  see  the  opportunities  and  they  quickly  jump  on  them.  There  is  no  shortage  of  willing  consumers  to  buy  the  latest  knock  off  handbag  or  pirated  music  CD  and  the  gangsters  know  it.

The  LAPD  and  FBI  recently  arrested  a  gang  member  from  Florencia  13.  The  gangster,  known  as  “Flaco”    had  already  been  arrested  and  prosecuted  by  local  authorities  once,  but  like  many  others  he  was  lured  back  to  the  counterfeit  trade  because  of  the  large  profits.   

Flaco  was  prosecuted  federally  and  convicted.  He  will  serve  time  in  federal  prison  and  then  he  will  likely  be  receiving  a  free  ride  outside  of  the  United  States  as  he  was  not  in  the  USA  legally.     

The  public  needs  to  be  educated  that  the  profits  from  the  sales  of  counterfeit  goods  are  going  to  gangs,  such  as  Florencia  13,  MS  13,  18TH  Street,  The  Bloods,  The  Crips,  and  the  Mexican  Mafia.

 We  applaud  the  outstanding  efforts  to  address  the  problem  of  intellectual  property  crimes  as  it  is  not  always  seen  as  a  serious  crime,  however  those  that  are  in  the  “know”  understand  how  serious  these  crimes  really  are  and  how  these  crimes  are  a  major  source  to  gangs,  organized  crimes  groups,  and  terrorist  organizations.

 Here is a link to a short clip on our YouTube channel explaining a little bit more about the relationships that gangs and counterfeiters have.

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Fake Electronics

From fake headphones to knock-off chargers, bogus iPods and counterfeit extension cords, Los Angeles police officers say counterfeit electronics are flooding the national market with potentially deadly consequences.  These fake electronics can cause great harm to someone, and even their families and homes.  Counterfeit extension cords have been tested to prove that they can melt through the plastic surrounding the copper cords and start fires in homes very rapidly.  Fake headphones have been proven to have pieces break off in the users ear requiring trips to the emergency room.  The bottom line here is counterfeit electronics are extremely dangerous.  It is not worth saving a couple bucks here and there when in turn it could put you or your whole families health and safety on the line. Here is a link to a short clip from ABC7 news on counterfeit electronics.

If you find someone selling these products please do not hesitate to contact us on our website at http://www.investigativeconsultants.com. 

Kris Buckner, Investigative Consultants

Manufacturer of Counterfeit Designer Handbags Sentenced to One Year in Federal Prison for Trafficking the Bogus Products

LOS ANGELES – A Los Angeles woman was sentenced today to one year and
one day in federal prison for trafficking in counterfeit handbags and wallets, including
accessories bearing counterfeit marks belonging to Chanel, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana,
Fendi, Prada, and Versace.

Yeon Soon Lee, also known as Susie Lee, 55, who resides in the Koreatown
District of Los Angeles, was sentenced today by United States District Judge George H.
King.

Lee operated Anna Collection, a wholesale accessory distributor in the Fashion
District in downtown Los Angeles. Lee attached emblems with counterfeit trademarks to
generic bags and shipped them to retailers across the United States. After authorities
executed a search warrant at Anna Collection in 2009 and seized more than 1,000
handbags and counterfeit emblems, Lee resumed operating her business in 2011. A
second search in 2011 resulted in the seizure of additional goods and emblems.

During today’s sentencing hearing, Judge King said Lee had committed a “largescale,”
“serious offense.” Lee was a “clear recidivist,” who had shown “repeated
disrespect for the law” by continuing to traffic in counterfeit goods after previously being
convicted in state court (that conviction has been expunged) and being the subject of
two search warrants, the judge said.

“The public has to know that these are not merely victimless crimes,” Judge King
emphasized.

The case against Lee is the product of an investigation by U.S. Immigration and
Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations, U.S. Customs and Border
Protection, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

CONTACT: Assistant United States Attorney Ronald Cheng
Cyber and Intellectual Property Crimes Section
(213) 894-8644

Release No. 13-037

Even On Melrose

Many folks think that counterfeit goods are only sold in shady areas of town or at swap meets and flea markets. Nothing could be further from the truth. Counterfeit goods have been found in all types of retail locations.

According to various media accounts, Tiffany & Co. recently sued Costco for allegedly selling counterfeit goods. If you research trademark counterfeiting through the open source, you will find countless examples of counterfeit goods being sold in all types of venues that you would never think would sell counterfeit goods.

The LAPD’s Hollywood Vice Unit recently learned this first hand when they took down an upscale boutique selling counterfeit jewelry. The boutique was located on the world famous Melrose Avenue in Hollywood in the same area where many world famous designer boutiques are located.

The owner of the boutique was sent a cease and desist notice from a brand owner prior to the criminal action taking place, however the owner chose to ignore it and continued their trademark counterfeiting activities. This happens more than you think.

The LAPD took swift action on the case and the owner is now facing criminal charges. The sell of counterfeit goods robs legitimate businesses of sales and can easily tarnish a brand’s reputation.

You never know where you will find counterfeit goods being sold.

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