The general public unfortunately does not seem to truly understand the effects that counterfeiting and piracy have on the world economy and how it affects the daily lives of tens of thousands of everyday people living in our communities.
It is not only the brand owners that are losing sales due to counterfeiting and piracy, it is also small “mom & pop” businesses. These “mom & pop” businesses that are trying to sell legitimate merchandise can’t compete because so many consumers are buying counterfeit merchandise and not spending their money at legitimate businesses such as large retail chain stores or the small “mom & pop” shops.
The public’s perception that counterfeiters are just some “poor guy trying to make a living” is wrong. The Investigative Consultants Team has been involved in several cases where counterfeit goods were being sold by convicted murderers, drug dealers, rapists, gang members and child molesters.
Hard core criminals have turned to selling counterfeit merchandise because the penalties are much lighter than those for such traditional crimes such as drug dealing and robbery. The profits from the sales of counterfeit merchandise are higher than the profits that can be made from dealing drugs or other traditional crimes. Due to this, there has been a huge increase in known gang members becoming involved in the sales of counterfeit and pirated merchandise. This has become common place on the streets of Los Angeles.
Law Enforcement has arrested several individuals who, during the interview process, have told them that they turned to selling counterfeit and pirated merchandise because they could make just as much money as selling drugs. As a two-time convicted felon told police, “Ain’t no one going to prison for selling fake DVDs.”
It is not only local street gangs that are involved in counterfeiting and piracy. The larger criminal and terrorist organizations, such as Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, The Crips,18th Street Gang, MS 13 and the Triads have also been known to sell and distribute counterfeit merchandise to raise funds for their causes.
Your assistance in reporting counterfeiting and piracy will help our local communities and will assist in fighting the Underground Economy that is leading to the Economic Undermining of America. These crimes are very serious and we need your help to stop it!