NY’s New Year’s Resolution? Less Fakes

January 7, 2009 § Leave a comment

The New York City police force started 2009 off with a big message to Canal Street vendors who peddle counterfeit “designer” goods—not in this town. Beginning in early December, city inspectors and police officers made a series of raids, the largest of which was on 424 Broadway, a mini-mall housing thousands of counterfeit handbags and other merchandise valuing over $1 million dollars.

Officers not only uncovered sacks of knockoff goods, but terrible working conditions that endanger the lives of those who work in the building making and selling counterfeit goods.

“It’s a firetrap,” said Edward Mungin, an inspector with the Department of Buildings assigned to the enforcement unit. “Space heaters, hanging lights, everything about this location is illegal.”

The raid was just the latest in a concerted effort to close down counterfeit operations in what has become known as the “counterfeit triangle,” in New York City—the blocks between Walker, Canal, and Center Streets. Last year, the city made 2,729 arrests for trademark counterfeiting in a bid to rid New York of poorly made—and illegal—goods.

New York isn’t the only city taking note of the sharp rise in counterfeiting in the last decade—Los Angeles similarly raided multiple downtown LA locations throughout the holiday season in what they dubbed Operation Clean Sweep. The program yielded 28 arrests, 200,000 counterfeit apparel items worth $2.7 million dollars. Los Angeles businesses lose $5.2 billion annually to the counterfeit market, according to the Los Angeles Anti-Piracy Task Force.

While counterfeiting has grown recently—encompassing everything from faulty car parts to fake chocolate—local governments have stepped up with special task forces created specifically to fight fakes.

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33,000 boxes of Fake Chocolate Give Customs a Stomachache

January 3, 2009 § Leave a comment

Anyone who has tried a milk chocolate Ferrero Rocher will likely want to try another. Around holiday time, the confections are popular additions to any party. But think twice before you see a box of these golden-wrapped goodies for a curiously low price at a discount store.

Experts say counterfeiting of items such as chocolate is on the rise, and there is no greater proof than the seizure of 33,000 boxes of counterfeit Ferrero Rocher’s by French customs officers in late December 2008. The bust was the biggest seizure of counterfeit ordinary food products France has seen, said Jerômé Fournel, head of French customs.

Luxury chocolatiers have good reason to be angry with counterfeiters banking on their good name—last year, shipments of fake chocolates coming from China were found to contain worms and moths. As always, buy wisely and from reputable retailers to avoid the unappetizing consequences of counterfeits.

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