Criminals Cashing in on Counterfeit


The $600 billion counterfeit industry is a huge threat to the whole fashion industry itself. And though several successful measures have been implemented to keep fake goods out of the market, those are still finding ways around the system. One of them being the Internet.

Counterfeitlv According to Immigration and Customs director John Morton, e-commerce technology has refined the criminal enterprise. Because the Internet tends to lend itself to a more "sophisticated visual presentation of goods", it's easier to sell higher priced goods than just on a street corner. It makes the good look like the real thing and after you've purchased and realized it's a fake, it's already too late. “The rise of the Internet as a marketplace has completely changed the face of counterfeiting,” Morton said. “The Internet has opened up a whole new frontier for counterfeiters.”

On Wednesday, ICE announced the arrest and indictment of three people in Rockford, Ill., for trafficking in counterfeit goods, including fake Nike, Ed Hardy, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Coach merchandise. The day before, the agency announced the seizure of $350,000 worth of fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Burberry, MAC, Versace, Ray-Ban and Rolex items from swap meets in Las Vegas.

To successfully combat counterfeiting, which really has become an international criminal problem, we’re going to have to have a very strong partnership between industry and government,” Morton said in an interview at ICE headquarters here. “[The brands] understand the problem counterfeiting poses better than anyone else. They know their products well. They know how counterfeiters operate, who the counterfeiters are. Working together, we can have much greater success.”

-Taneisha Jordan

Source; Photo: WWD

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