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Designer Knockoffs Seized in Major OC Raid

Homes and retailers in Newport Beach, Huntington Beach and Laguna Beach are among those implicated. About $820,000 in counterfeit merchandise is confiscated.

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

Kelly Sawyer "Animal Defender" November 17, 2012 at 12:59 AM
I hope they fined them more than they made... stealing branding is a crime, and persons who choose crime for profit instead of an honest days work deserve consequences.... The world has gotten SLACK on respect and accountability FOR THE LAW.
Marty Jr. November 17, 2012 at 04:33 AM
hey marty I finally found you... do you want a refund?
Lynn Swain November 17, 2012 at 03:25 PM
I LOVE knockoffs some of us can't afford the real deal!
Evelyne Huegi November 17, 2012 at 06:59 PM
You got that right. Lynn

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