In Southern California, running into a man or woman selling counterfeit items such as purses, wallets, and clothing is not so out of the ordinary to raise an eyebrow. However, most people do not realize the severe penalities associated with infringing intellectual property and producing counterfeit goods.
The Orange County District Attorney’s Office has filed felony charges against three local vendors identified during Operation Fashion Faux Pas, a crackdown by U.S. Immigration and Custom’s Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations on Orange County retailers suspected of dealing in counterfeit designer goods.
Gokhan Kucuk, 22, who operates the Hot Trends kiosks in Huntington Beach, and John Giang Ly, 24, accused of selling high end counterfeit purses out of his Westminster residence, were taken into custody last week. The third defendant, Joon Heung Son, 45, owner of Shoe World stores in Garden Grove and Los Angeles, surrendered to the court Friday. All three defendants are charged in criminal complaints filed last week with multiple counts of manufacture and sale of a counterfeit mark.
With the filing of these latest criminal complaints, seven Orange County vendors have now been charged with state criminal violations as a result of Operation Fashion Faux Pas. Others charged include the suppliers and proprietors of Cobbler’s Corner in Laguna Beach and the operators of Spa by Mode in Westminster. Over the course of enforcement action, investigators conducted a total of 18 warranted and consensual searches resulting in the seizure of more than $820,000 worth of counterfeit goods. That figure is based on the estimated retail value of the merchandise had it been genuine. The seized counterfeit goods included purses, jewelry, sunglasses, cosmetics and perfume.