IC Investigators have been involved in a number of successful cases where their assistance and/or direct involvement has led to the recovery of counterfeit merchandise and apprehension of the individuals involved in counterfeiting. Below are just a few examples of these successful cases:
IC investigators received information on a team of ladies that were conducting several purse and jean parties throughout the County of Los Angeles where they were selling counterfeit items. It was determined that in one year the subjects had conducted over 200 “parties.” The subjects were making thousands of dollars cash at each of the parties. An undercover IC investigator was able to infiltrate the organization and arrange for the subjects to host a party. When the subjects showed up and set up the party, they were greeted by law enforcement officials. A total of four arrests were made and over a half a million dollars of counterfeit merchandise was seized. This case was profiled on ABC News.
Counterfeiters in Washington
Investigative Consultants was contacted by law enforcement officials from the state of Washington to assist them in a counterfeiting investigation. Law enforcement had conducted a very extensive investigation of several subjects that were involved in the sales and large scale distribution of counterfeit merchandise. During a one month period, law enforcement served search warrants on over twenty locations and made numerous arrests. Law enforcement’s efforts resulted in the seizure of several million dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise and the seizure of over $ 350,000.00 in cash. Law enforcement recovered over $ 190,000.00 in cash from one single storage locker. Law enforcement also recovered narcotics and weapons during their investigation.
Swap Meet Bust
Investigative Consultants identified a swap meet that housed a large number of vendors selling counterfeit and pirated merchandise. Undercover purchases were made and several individuals were identified. The investigation was presented to law enforcement. Law enforcement conducted a further investigation and arranged an action at the swap meet. Law enforcement was able to arrest 13 vendors and seized over 10,000 counterfeit/pirated items. The swap meet owners have now been put on notice to take action to curb the sales of counterfeit merchandise at the swap meet or they will face action from County Officials.
IC investigators worked alongside members of law enforcement and conducted an investigation of a subject who was on probation for felony trademark counterfeiting. IC investigators determined that the subject was again involved in the large scale importation and distribution of counterfeit luxury goods. Investigative Consultants turned our investigation over to law enforcement, who obtained search warrants for the subject’s home, three storage lockers, and retail businesses. As a result of the investigation, over 8 million dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise was recovered, along with other stolen merchandise. Law enforcement also seized over $20,000.00 in cash.
Fourth Time is the Charm
IC investigators assisted law enforcement in the arrest of a subject in Los Angeles, California on three separate occasions over the course of six years. IC investigators determined that the subject was once again involved in the distribution of counterfeit merchandise. IC investigators presented their investigation to law enforcement. A search warrant was served at the subject’s business and he was arrested. The subject pled guilty to trademark counterfeiting charges and was sentenced to 16 months in state prison.
IC investigators received information from an informant regarding a large scale “lab” that was involved with the manufacture of tens of thousands of pirated motion pictures. Investigative Consultants conducted an investigation and determined the information was reliable. The LAPD served a search warrant at the lab and arrested four people. Law enforcement seized over 30,000 pirated movies, along with several burning towers and other equipment. The primary subject was subsequently sentenced to three years in prison and ordered to pay restitution to the victim.
Power Tools Bust
IC investigators conducted a six month investigation of several manufacturers and distributors of counterfeit power tools and other electronic equipment. Investigative Consultants made several undercover buys and turned the investigation over to law enforcement. Search warrants were obtained and six separate businesses were raided and six subjects were arrested. Millions of dollars in counterfeit power tools were recovered. All the subjects were subsequently convicted of trademark counterfeiting.
Investigative Consultants conducted an investigation of a company that was importing counterfeit action figures and toys. The company had been caught importing over 100,000 counterfeit items over a one year period by Immigration and Customs Enforcement; however, the counterfeit items were just seized by ICE and the subjects continued to import and distribute counterfeit items under various business names. Investigative Consultants identified the subjects’ retail location and their off-site warehouse. Law enforcement served a search warrant at both locations and seized hundreds of thousands of counterfeit items. One subject was arrested.
IC investigators successfully completed a two-year investigation of the owner and operator of 14 separate web sites that specialized in the sales of counterfeit sunglasses. The subject was operating the sites from her home in Rancho Cucamonga, California and had developed a nationwide distribution network. IC investigators presented their investigation to the San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, who then obtained a search warrant for the home of the subject. During the service of the search warrant, law enforcement recovered thousands of counterfeit items and documentation showing the scope of the subjects operation.
Investigative Consultants received a request from the LAPD to assist them in an investigation. The LAPD received a complaint from a citizen who had unknowingly purchased a high-end counterfeit watch from a vendor in the Santee Alley area of Los Angeles. When the citizen learned the watch was counterfeit, the citizen attempted to return it to the vendor he purchased it from. The vendor refused and threatened the citizen. The citizen reported the incident to police. Investigative Consultants was able to identify the vendor, who had been served with multiple cease and desist notices and conducted an undercover buy from him. LAPD arrested the vendor on felony counterfeiting charges. The vendor has several past criminal convictions for fraud related charges. LAPD recovered several hundred thousand dollars worth of counterfeit watches and jewelry from the vendor.
IC investigators worked in conjunction with The LAPD, The Los Angeles County Health Department, and The Building and Safety Unit in conducting “Street Sweeps” of vendors who were illegally selling various items on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. The investigators recovered all types of counterfeit merchandise including clothing, handbags, watches, compact discs, motion pictures, toys, sunglasses, and other items. The sweeps took place during the month of December 2002 and resulted in the recovery of thousands of counterfeit items and a noticeable decrease in the number of street vendors in the Downtown Los Angeles area selling counterfeit merchandise. The IC investigators are still currently involved in the Street Sweeps program with The LAPD and other agencies targeting illegal street vendors.
Millions in Counterfeits
Investigative Consultants conducted an investigation of two locations in the city of Rowland Heights, California that were involved in the sales and nationwide distribution of counterfeit handbags and accessories. Working in conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, search warrants were obtained for the two locations. The Sheriff’s Department recovered thousands of handbags and accessories. The recovery was valued at several million dollars. The owners of the locations were arrested on felony counterfeiting charges. The owners have been charged with multiple counts of counterfeiting and are awaiting trial.
Ten at Once
IC investigators assisted The Orange County Sheriff’s Department in a raid of a large upscale marketplace in Costa Mesa. IC investigators had identified over ten vendors selling large amounts of counterfeit handbags. The Orange County Sheriff’s Department assisted in undercover videotaped purchases from the vendors of counterfeit items. The vendors were subsequently arrested and the counterfeit handbags and other items were seized and taken into evidence. Several of the vendors had been served with cease and desist notices in the past, but continued their sales of counterfeit items. A total of ten vendors were arrested and several thousand counterfeit items were recovered.
IC investigators in New York and California worked side by side to conduct an investigation of a “broker” who was offering counterfeit underwear for sale. The investigators in California began the investigation and subsequently turned the investigation over to the investigators in New York, who worked with the NYPD. The NYPD conducted an additional undercover investigation that resulted in the service of a search warrant. The NYPD recovered thousands of pairs of counterfeit underwear along with a large amount of counterfeit hip-hop clothing that was being stored at the same location as the underwear. The “broker” was arrested on felony counterfeiting charges.