Manufacture, Sale, or Possession of Counterfeit Goods
Selling Fake Designer Merchandise in Los Angeles
Selling fake and counterfeit designer merchandise such as Louis Vuitton,
Prada, Tiffany, Adidas, or Nike can get your arrested and charged with
felonies punishable by state prison time, steep fines, and a huge restitution
bill. The importing, buying, and selling of counterfeit goods is no joke
in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles District Attorney’s office has aggressively
prosecuted the crimes and has been very successful. The Los Angeles County
Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department have
created special units who regularly investigate these types of crimes
and routinely conduct undercover operations, serve search warrants, make
arrests, and seize large amounts of cash and counterfeit goods.
California Law - Penal Code Section 350
You might think the term “counterfeit” only refers to fake
currency, but California Penal Code section 350 defines another form of
counterfeiting: knowingly using a logo or design (a “mark”)
to sell knock-off and fake merchandise. The most common form of counterfeit
goods (using a mark) is merchandise that looks like original high-end
designer goods but these items will often have a copy or reproduction
of the original logo such as Armani, Ray-Ban, Oakley, Gucci, Nike or Adidas.
offering to sell,
possessing with the intent to sell goods containing a counterfeit trademark in Los Angeles is in violation of the
law and may be arrested and prosecuted.
Proving a Counterfeit Case
In order to convict, the prosecutor must establish:
- The defendant knowingly and willfully produced, sold, or possessed for
sale counterfeit goods;
- The counterfeit merchandise contained a “mark” that is officially
registered with the Secretary of State or U.S. Principal Registry / Trademark
Office, or is known to represent a particular brand.
The prosecution cannot bring a valid case against you without these elements.
However, a conviction can lead to serious penalties, such as incarceration
and fines. If the alleged offense involved products that would normally
cost more than $950, or the offense involved more than 1,000 units of
the item, the prosecution may charge the crime as a felony punishable
by up to three years in state prison. In some cases involving less than
1000 units, with a value under $950, the crime may be charged as a misdemeanor
punishable by up to one year in county jail.
The “Mistake of Fact” Defense
This strategy refers to any situation where the defendant did not
knowingly sell or create the counterfeit goods. Without showing the defendant knew
or reasonably should have known the merchandise was fake, the prosecutor
may have some difficulty obtaining a conviction. If, for example, you
unknowingly purchased a counterfeit bag and tried to resell it, you could
not face criminal penalties because you assumed the mark was authentic.
However, you might be charged if the price of your purchase or sale was
well below the market value for non-counterfeit goods.
Our Los Angeles Criminal Defense Attorneys Can Help
Contact our attorneys to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation regarding your case. We
have more than 70 combined years of criminal law experience – let
us use it to help you avoid a conviction and jail. All of the lawyers
at our law firm are passionate, experienced, and skilled. If you are under
investigation or arrested for selling counterfeit merchandise contact
us before you speak to law enforcement and let us evaluate your case and
explain your legal options to you. Any statements you make to the police
will hurt you in ways you can't imagine – you may say something
that will hurt your case significantly.