RIVERSIDE – The Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, along with several other agencies, recently conducted an intellectual property rights enforcement operation resulting in seven arrests and the seizure of counterfeit goods with an estimated retail value of more than $150,000.
The arrests and seizures happened Sunday, March 30 at a swap meet held routinely at the corner of Winchester and Newport roads in Southwest Riverside County.
Two of the seven people were arrested on suspicion of selling counterfeit marks and the other five on suspicion of sales of counterfeit recording or audiovisual work.
Included in the seized counterfeit items were about 30 fake handbags – including Michael Kors and Chanel bags, a pair of Chanel sunglasses, one Burberry belt, about 20 sports jerseys, several hundred cell phone and tablet cases, about a dozen Beats by Dr. Dre headphones, and more than 4,000 CDs and DVDs.
“This type of fraudulent activity has a serious impact on our economy and cheats honest merchants out of their hard-earned money,” said District Attorney Paul Zellerbach.
According to an Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) seizure report issued by the United States Department of Homeland Security in fiscal year 2013, the number of IPR seizures increased nearly 7 percent from fiscal year 2012 and the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) of those seized goods increased 38 percent from 2012 to an estimated $1.7 billion.
The operation conducted in Winchester also included environmental health enforcement during which 14 people were issued misdemeanor citations for operating a food facility without a permit and other health code violations. An estimated 2,500 pounds of potentially hazardous food had to be destroyed.
The operation was conducted by representatives from the DA’s Office, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, county Code Enforcement, county Department of Environmental Health, and the Recording Industry Association of America.
Similar operations will continue to be done without notice at this swap meet and any other location where it is believed intellectual property rights and/or health code violations may be occurring.