Customs agents announced that they seized 1500 counterfeit Hermes handbags at the port of Los Angeles in February.  The two shipments would sell for up to $14 million if sold at full price.  The agency said that $511 million worth of bags and wallets were seized in 2012, most of which were made in China.  

We’ve all seen counterfeit bags and purses that look like designer brands.  They seem harmless enough.  The problem is, it is illegal to sell them.  Most people who purchase a counterfeit bag know it’s not real.  However, there are unsuspecting consumers who think they’re getting the real deal.

The United States Attorney’s office will indict people for distributing counterfeit goods.  The theory is that the actual designer or trademark holder is losing money by the sale of a counterfeit bag.  That’s silly though.  Hermes bags sell for thousands of dollars.  Someone paying $200 for a knock-off is not going to spend $8000 for a real Hermes bag!  In any event, it’s still a crime.

I recently represented a woman who was charge with selling counterfeit jewelry and learned that one of the reasons these items are dangerous is due to the high levels of lead contained in the metal.  Lead is toxic, especially to children.  Therefore, these items can actually be harmful.  Who knew?!   

If someone is convicted of selling counterfeit goods, they are sentenced based on the value of the goods sold.  If someone could make $100,000.00 selling fake bags from China, they are sentenced based on that amount.  The more merchandise they have, the higher the sentence.  

If you or a loved one are being investigated or have been charged with possessing, selling or manufacturing any type of counterfeit goods please contact the Law Office of Diane C. Bass immediately.