Three Orange County, California, retailers are facing felony charges as part of Operation Fashion Faux Pas, which is an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations. The investigation has been ongoing for several months, and two of the three people charged have previous convictions for state intellectual property violations.
The defendants include a 24-year-old man who is accused of selling counterfeit purses out of his home in Westminster; a 45-year-old man who is accused of selling counterfeit shoes in his shoe stores in Los Angeles and Garden Grove; and a 33-year-old man who is charged with selling counterfeit merchandise out of kiosks in Huntington Beach.
The charges all stem from search warrants served last November. At the 33-year-old defendant’s home, there were reportedly hundreds of counterfeit items found, including jewelry, mobile phone cases and wallets. HSI agents reportedly found counterfeit purses at the 24-year-old’s home that were manufactured to look like Chanel and Louis Vuitton. When investigators searched the shoe stores owned by the 45-year-old defendant, there were reportedly dozens of pairs of counterfeit Tory Burch and Juicy Couture shoes.
According to investigators, if the merchandise had been legitimate, it would have been worth almost $100,000. The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition says counterfeit products such as wallets, purses, shoes and other items, cost U.S. companies $200-$250 billion each year in lost sales.
These criminal charges now bring the total number of Orange County retailers charged to seven as a result of Operation Fashion Faux Pas. The estimated value of all goods seized during the investigation is more than $820,000. That value is based upon what the counterfeit goods would have sold for if they had been genuine.
Those who feel their intellectual property rights have been infringed upon should contact an attorney who specializes in this complex area of the law. This is the best way to ensure your rights are protected and to learn what your options are in a civil lawsuit.
Source: imperialvalleynews.com, “Orange County vendors charged with selling counterfeit goods” No author given, Apr. 24, 2013