LONDON: The Richland County Sheriff's Department have confiscated the largest amount of counterfeit goods ever recovered in the Southeast region. Fake brand-name goods worth more than 1.3 million dollars were seized which included over 7000 pairs of shoes, CD's and DVD's, and clothing items.
A man faces charges in Newberry and Richland counties after police say they discovered clothes and other items in his home, business and storage units. The items included more than 5,000 pairs of shoes, 6,000 CDs and 2,300 DVDs.
Among the items seized were knockoffs of athletic shoes that retail for $300 and DVD’s of recent movies like “The Brave One” and “The Kingdom”.
Larry Mitchell, of Newberry, is charged with two counts of trafficking counterfeit goods and one count of distribution of counterfeit goods.
Mitchell is out on bail on the Newberry charges and had made arrangements to turn himself in to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
Richland County deputies were tipped off Monday by a Cayce Department of Public Safety officer who saw Mitchell storing items in a Ballentine storage facility.
Officers from the Newberry Police and Newberry Sheriff’s departments searched Mitchell’s home and office and discovered more brand-name impostors including Baby Phat, Nike, Coach, Timberland, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs and Lacoste.
The counterfeit industry is a billion-dollar industry. The brand labels and consumers are the victims of counterfeiting operations because counterfeiters siphon money away and don’t pay property or sales tax. The U.S. apparel industry is affected by theft and misuse of brand names.
Retailers know consumers often buy counterfeit clothes and shoes because of the lure and idea of possessing high-end brands on the cheap.
Police suspect Mitchell has been selling counterfeit goods for a while but that his business had grown this past year.
The CDs and DVDs will be destroyed, but once the fake brand-name tags have been removed, the clothes may be donated to local nonprofits serving needy people.