Archives for October 2013

FDLE Busts Counterfeit Body Armor Ring

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement Orlando Regional Operations Center arrested three people each on one count of organized scheme to defraud and one count of counterfeiting body armor.

Investigators allege that the owner of Alpha Inc., Scott Anderson, 57, Ocoee, Fla., sold counterfeit body armor at gun shows across Florida. Agents believe Scott Williams, 51, Ocoee, Fla., and Arami Rodriguez, 36, Ocoee, Fla., worked for Anderson and assisted in the manufacturing and selling of the fake body armor.

“These suspects sold dangerous products to unsuspecting consumers raking in large profits for themselves,” said FDLE Orlando Regional Operations Center Special Agent in Charge Danny Banks.

The investigation began in August 2013 when Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. received a customer complaint. The customer indicated that he purchased Point Blank body armor at a gun show in West Palm Beach, Fla. and thought the product was counterfeit. Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. determined the armor was fake and contacted FDLE.

Ballistic tests conducted on the bogus product determined it provided no ballistic protection.

On September 11, 2013, FDLE executed a search warrant at Alpha, Inc., 10 S. Cumberland Ave., Ocoee, Fla., and located counterfeit body armor from Point Blank, PACA (Protective Apparel Corporation of America), ABA (American Body Armor), Gall’s, First Choice, and OM Tactical.

Agents also located additional body armor labeled as Full Dragon Armor, Coloma, Mich., which was determined to be a fictitious company. Evidence recovered during the search found the Full Dragon body armor to be substandard.

 

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Longview, Texas police investigating counterfeit gold, silver scams

A Longview Police Department investigation into counterfeit gold and silver coins and bullion bars resulted in the arrest of James Leroy Frattarola, on October 4. Federal authorities have also been asked to assist in the investigation since some of the items counterfeited were U.S. coins.

Longview Police learned that in the course of events related to this case, local gold and silver outlets were sold fake items. Several of these items were, in turn, sold to unsuspecting retail customers. One dealer reports recovering all the fakes that he sold to customers but it is unknown if other counterfeit coins or bullion bars have been circulated.

Included among counterfeit items located in Longview were counterfeit Morgan silver dollars, gold Krugerrand coins, a gold $50 dollar U.S. coin, and numerous one-ounce silver bars. The silver bars confiscated locally are counterfeits labeled with the Northwest Territorial Mint out of Washington State insignia. Police contacted Northwest’s personnel. They were extremely helpful and offered expert advice during the investigation. The Northwest Territorial Mint’s website offers advice to help buyers avoid purchasing counterfeit silver bars.

 

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LAPD, US Customs Battle Counterfeit Goods Market, Multi-Billion Dollar Industry More Lucrative Than Drugs

In an era when terrorism and illegal narcotics pose a clear and present danger in urban America, why should U.S. law enforcement spend precious resources policing luxury handbags?
Because, authorities say, those fake handbags — and other counterfeit goods — are practically an ATM machine for organized crime.
“More than likely it’s going to finance some other illicit activity, whether it be terrorism, human trafficking, drugs or some such,” said Customs and Border Protection (CBP) supervisor Bryan Nahodil as he surveyed some 16,000 fake Hermes bags seized in Los Angeles.
Counterfeit goods are more lucrative than drugs, according to officers with the Los Angeles Police Department’s Vice Division and the CBP.

Counterfeit goods account for nearly 10 percent of worldwide trade, an estimated $500 billion annually, according to the World Customs Organization.
U.S. Customs officers said the black market for fake handbags, shoes, purses and other luxury goods helps fund other crime rings, including drugs and human trafficking.

The CBP insists importing counterfeit goods is “the same as importing drugs or people.”

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