This month in counterfeit crime. March 2015

What do we have this month in regards to counterfeit crime. We have a teen selling fake iPhones on craigslist, a man selling high end purses at a flea market, people selling counterfeit gold, customs seizing fake perfume among other stories.

We will start with a major story before going to the small end.
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A $5.4 million defrauding scheme aimed at the US Mint

The US Mint has a program called the Mutilated Coin Program where they will buy unusable coins in exchange for money at $20 per pound. That means if you find a pound of unusable pennies, you can return them to the mint for some money. This has resulted in people taking advantage of the program and running scams. A group of recyclers imported coins from China, and returned them to the Mint for cash. The coins were fake.  According to the filing:

Interestingly, United States Mint personnel also believe that more half dollars have been redeemed by China-sourced vendors in the last 10 years than the United States Mint has ever manufactured in its history

If you are to read any story here, I would recommend reading this one.

 

Teen selling counterfeit iPhones through Craigslist 

A 17 year old was selling counterfeit iPhones through online classified ads. He bought them for $180 and resold them for $550. He was caught after a friend of a person he scammed started to investigate the seller. He asked the seller to meet him in a parking lot to buy the phone. The parking lot was in a Krispy Kreme store. Police cars were there before the teen appeared, but since it was a doughnut shop, it seamed normal. However the cops were actually there to arrest the teen as soon as they were notified he was there.

 

Repeat counterfeiter gets caught again

Hua Wu, 42, was arrested at his store selling counterfeit bags under brand names Michael Kors, Gucci, and Chanel. By store, I mean the flea market. If  you are going to sell counterfeits, don’t sell high end items at a garage sale, or flea market and claim they are new and that you have hundreds of them. He was found with 2,600 brand name bags. Since this is his second time being arrested, his previous resulting in a felony, he is being held on a $150,000 bond.
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Woman buys counterfeit products from one site, returns them to another 

A woman, surnamed Zhou, 25, of Shanghai bought real high end products from jd.com then returned the products back to the company. However instead of sending the product she bought, she would send in a counterfeit replica of the products. For example, Zhou returned a 24,900($4000 USD) yuan bag with a 400($64) yuan one.  The spread on that could make you a small fortune if you did not get caught.

 

Large Taiwanese company defrauds its customers with counterfeit wine

Tequila Development Company had been importing wine from Spain and Chile and sold it as French wine. The company netted $100 million ($3.19 million USD) in profit over the past five years. The company sold 440,000 bottles of the counterfeit wine, and when the warehouse was searched by police, they found 30,000 more counterfeit bottles.

 

Another flea market bust

A group of four men, bdoulaye Niang, Abdoulaye Marouba, Amadou Ba, and Deo Kagoma were arrested at a flea market in southwest Memphis for selling counterfeit goods. They had about $50,000(MSRP) in counterfeit goods at their booth. Brands that they sold were Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana and Prada among others. They offered a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses for $5.
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Swap shop seller arrested for selling fake gold

At a swap shop in Waverly, NY, Samuel Kolesnik III, 46, was arrested for selling counterfeit gold coins and bars to a customer for $7,000. Who is buying gold at a flea market is beyond me, but I guess someone did. The police report did not say if the gold coins were US currency or not. If they are, the charges could be worse.

 

Eight arrest in counterfeit pull tab scheme

A pull tab is a gambling product where you scratch off one side of the ticket and try to match the symbols or numbers to the other side. A group of eight thought it was a perfect counterfeiting opportunity. They would use these counterfeit pull tab tickets and redeem them across the state in Indiana. They made off with $21,154 from 42 tickets. One of the suspects even impersonated a excise officer at a bar.

 

Man gets caught selling counterfeit products in parking lots

Marcelo Christian Veizaga, from Salt Lake County, listed products on Craigslist and other classifieds and delivered the product in person. And just like the first story, he was caught by police. He sold Beats by Dre, Beachbody workout DVDs and other branded items. He also sold prescription drugs.

 

6 years in prison for counterfeit crime

Han Woon Liew, 46, of Sugar Land, Texas, was sent to 70 months in prison for selling counterfeit goods from 2012-2014. Like most counterfeit sellers, he sold designer handbags.

 

$430,000 in Counterfeit Perfume 

On February 21, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers inspected a trailer that was listed as holding perfume. After inspection, CBP officers found counterfeit perfume with brand names such as Gucci, Calvin Klein, Miss Dior, Juicy Couture, Ralph Lauren, and Carolina Herrera.

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