Federal investigators capped off a six-month crackdown on Orange County retailers suspected of selling designer-good knockoffs, seizing about $820,000 in counterfeit merchandise, officials announced Friday.
U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement's Operation Fashion Faux Pas began in May.
Investigators conducted 18 searches that led to the seizure of more than $820,000 in phony goods, including purses, jewelry, sunglasses, cosmetics and perfume, according to ICE officials. The items bore trademarks of more than two dozen popular brands, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex, Hermes and Chanel, according to ICE.
Vendors targeted this week included a Tustin hair salon, a Garden Grove shoe store and several retail kiosks near the Huntington Beach pier, according to ICE. Homes in Newport Beach and Westminster linked to suspected sellers of designer knockoffs were also searched.
Operation Faux Pas also resulted in indictments of four Orange County vendors, including suppliers and proprietors of Cobbler's Corner in Laguna Beach and Spa by Mode, a Westminster beauty salon and retail outlet, according to ICE.
"As we remind consumers, buying knockoffs doesn't pay off," said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge of Homeland Security Investigations in Los Angeles. "The vendors who sell counterfeit merchandise are robbing from the legitimate companies, many of them U.S.-based, that make these products. And perhaps most important, they're hurting the men and women who depend on those companies for their livelihood."
Evidence in the case has been turned over to the Orange County district attorney's office.
-City News Service