Dozens of victims lost close to $1 million, after purchasing counterfeit Louis Vuitton merchandise.

Handbags and accessories go hand-in-hand with high fashion, so it’s no wonder there is a healthy market for counterfeit goods.

Pam (last name withheld) sought a high-end bag, but a search online led to something quite different.

“I had admired a friend’s pocketbook,” she said, “and it was a Louis Vuitton and it was a specific style but was told that they discontinued it.”

So she went online and found a site that claimed all items were sent with a letter of authenticity.

“The price was pretty much on target for what would be an authentic bag,” she said. She ordered items totaling more than $1,400.

It arrived, without the certificate of authenticity.

Then, within an hour or two, she received a phone call, from New York postal inspectors who were tracking the website and items being sent to customers. They told her they had to confiscate the bag as evidence.

A representative from Louis Vuitton came in and examine all the bags. They were able to confirm items were counterfeit.

Inspectors say dozens of victims lost close to $1 million.

Three suspects pleaded guilty to attempted wire fraud and counterfeit goods charges in this case and are awaiting sentencing.


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Donald A. Bambenek II
Bambenek Investigative Group
4810 Pt. Fosdick Drive NW,  200
Gig Harbor, Washington 98335-1711
(253) 255-6910


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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Counterfeiting links to organized crime highlighted

Counterfeiting funds Organized Crime in Scotland, the United States, and elsewhere.

Although buying a fake designer handbag, watch or sunglasses might be seen as a “victimless way to get something desirable on the cheap”, the money made from the trade in these types of goods was often used to fund significant criminal activity.

He added: “We know that serious organized criminals in Scotland will be tenacious in exploiting every avenue in human misery to make money from their illegal doings.

David Harvie, from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, added: “The people of Scotland should be aware of the real effects of purchasing counterfeit goods – such behaviour only funds the groups that undermine our communities.

“While the prosecution service will continue do all in our power to prosecute and recover the profits made by organised criminals, so too should people across Scotland be aware of the ways in which they can assist in cutting off the funding at source.”


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Hezbollah involvement with counterfeit medicine

According to an article in The Jerusalem Post, dated August 1, 2013, “Hezbollah runs a complex network of front companies in Lebanon, the Gulf states and Europe that trade in counterfeit medicine, Kuwaiti daily Al-Seyassah reported on Tuesday. This international business in counterfeit medicine “facilitates the group’s terrorist operations,” the report stated, and includes Iranian citizens.”

“The group exploits the free trade zone in the Gulf and in Europe to run its business.”

Hezbollah and terrorist groups have been financing activities through proceeds derived from involvement in counterfeit goods.


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