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The Los Angeles Anti-Piracy Task Force, chaired by City Controller Wendy Greuel, recently announced the results of “Operation Chimney Sweep”, the largest raid on counterfeit goods in Los Angeles history.
“People who make counterfeit goods are stealing, plain and simple, it’s the same as picking someone’s pocket or shoplifting,” Greuel said. “We lose more than 100,000 jobs and billions of dollars to our economy each year because of these crimes. We are determined to sweep it out of Los Angeles.”
During the 2010 holiday season, dozens of police officers and investigators from private industries launched raids throughout Los Angeles, making arrests and seizing millions of dollars of pirated movies, music and apparel. Ten suspects were arrested, and counterfeit goods valued at more than $4 million were seized during “Operation Chimney Sweep”.
“Counterfeiters are often involved in other, more dangerous illicit activities. Few realize that the money a consumer pays for a counterfeit product may very well be financing even more serious criminal activities, like gang crime,” City Attorney Carmen Trutanich said. “As the top law enforcement official in the City of Los Angeles, I will work with my partners to thoroughly investigate and vigorously prosecute those involved in the manufacture, distribution, and sale of counterfeit merchandise.”
The Los Angeles Anti-Piracy Task Force was formed in February 2007 to combat the impact the counterfeit goods trade has on the Los Angeles economy. It includes representatives of law enforcement, business, government and the entertainment industry.
Counterfeit goods are estimated to cost Los Angeles County businesses $5.2 billion in lost revenue annually, plus $2 billion in losses for the retail sector, according to a report released by the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC). Since its inception in 2004, the LAPD’s Anti-Piracy team has served 181 search warrants, made 498 arrests and seized illegal goods valued at $93.8 million.
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