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LASD - Los Angeles County Sheriffs Dept Information Bureau (SIB)
Wednesday December 11th, 2013 :: 02:04 a.m. PST

Sheriff’s Officials, Brand Owner & LA Crime Stoppers Warn Consumers about Buying Counterfeit Goods

Sheriff’s Officials, Brand Owner and Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers Warn Consumers about Buying Holiday Counterfeit Goods 

On Tuesday, December 10, 2013, Assistant Sheriff Todd Rogers and other Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Officials, as well as Brand Owners and Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers held a press conference at Sheriff’s Headquarters to discuss the negative impacts of purchasing counterfeit goods during the holiday season. Counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes of modern times. These criminals cost society billions of dollars in lost government revenues, foreign investments and local business profits. Counterfeiting and piracy impact public safety by funding organized crime, street gangs and even terrorism through the sales of these products. 

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement (CAPE) Team investigates, identifies, apprehends, and prosecutes persons who engage in the sale/manufacture of counterfeit goods. The CAPE team is responsible for identifying sellers, suppliers, importers, and manufacturers of counterfeit merchandise, along with their supply lines and methods of transportation and distribution. The Sheriff’s CAPE (Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement) Team served approximately 46 search warrants last year, made 75 arrests and seized over $15 million in counterfeit products. The products seized ranged from luxury goods, to health and safety items, i.e. pharmaceuticals, batteries, contact lenses and laundry detergent. 

Heading into the holiday season, everyone is looking for good deals. Counterfeiting and Piracy are a false bargain that is often times not taken seriously as a criminal offense. Perhaps because sharing copyrighted music, movies, or buying an imitation purse doesn’t feel like stealing to most people. But the truth is, counterfeit goods can pose a serious health and safety risk to consumers, as well as the long-term costs to communities in the form of lost tax revenue, jobs and wages. Trademark counterfeiting has been referred to as the crime of the Twenty-First Century. It is estimated that counterfeiting and piracy costs American businesses more than $200 billion each year in lost revenue: and no one type of product is exempt. 

Counterfeiting and piracy crimes pose a significant economic risk to California industry and our local communities. Not only do they deprive businesses and local governments of lost income or tax dollars that could have been generated through legitimate sales, they also cost tax payers through the expense of enforcing intellectual property rights laws. These goods also impose a serious health and safety risk to consumers. Whether it is counterfeit prescription medication or cigarettes that contain unknown substances, consumers are being deceived into believing these are safe and legitimate products. 

Counterfeiting creates large profits. There is high demand for luxury products that can be purchased at bargain process, and criminals realize counterfeiting enforcement is not necessarily a high priority for law enforcement. The low risk of being arrested combined with the possibility of high profits, makes counterfeiting an attractive venture; even for those who would not normally be involved in criminal activity. 

There is no foolproof way to know the difference between a bargain and a fake, but labels and packaging can be revealing indicators. Look for missing or expired “use by” dates, broken or missing safety seals, missing warranty information, or otherwise unusual packaging. Whether purchasing online or at a retail locations, only purchase from authorized retailers listed by the manufacturer. If you are uncertain whether a retailer acquired its products from a legitimate distributor, ask for verifiable information from the retailer about the source of the goods. 

Los Angeles Crime Stoppers has partnered with several companies and law enforcement to combat counterfeiting and piracy. This new initiative increases public awareness, education, and provides communities with the means to anonymously report counterfeiting and piracy. Crime Stoppers announced the locations of 12 New Piracy/Anti-Counterfeit Billboards throughout Los Angeles County in the cities of Carson, Compton, South El Monte, South Gate, Vernon, Bassett and Santa Fe Springs. 
1. 710 FWY (South Gate) 
2. 710 FWY (Vernon) 
3. Starlite Swap Meet (S. El Monte) 
4. Bassett Swap Meet (Bassett) 
5. Del Amo Indoor Swap Meet (Compton) 
6. Alpine Village (Carson) 
7. Del Amo Indoor Swap Meet (Compton) 
8. Bassett Swap Meet (Bassett) 
9. Starlite Swap Meet (S. El Monte) 
10. Alpine Village (Carson) 
11. Del Amo Indoor Swap Meet (Compton) 
12. Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet (Santa Fe Springs) 

Forwarded By
Sheriff's Headquarters Bureau - Newsroom 
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department 

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