This week over $700,000 of counterfeit cosmetics were seized in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Piracy Unit coordinated a multi-agency raid with the FBI and Central Bureau Vice Unit.
The taskforce raided multiple locations in and around the Santee Alley, which houses more than 150 fashion stores and is the design hub of the LA fashion industry. The taskforce seized over $700,000 worth of counterfeit goods, and are now set on educating consumers about the risks associated with counterfeit cosmetics.
Marc Reina of the LAPD was the commanding officer in charge of the raids, and has since shared on Twitter that the seized cosmetics contained "bacteria and human waste". The FBI's team also took to Twitter to share their disgust at the findings and explain that this was a public safety concern, as much as a counter-piracy one.
The counterfeiting came to light after well-known brands received complaints of skin irritation from customers. The Piracy Unit conducted an undercover operation to purchase and test the counterfeit products, and discovered as well as a high level of bacteria, there was also both animal and human faeces present.
Counterfeit cosmetics are not only a concern to public health and safety but also clearly infringe the intellectual property in a particular product whether this be the products trade mark, design or get up. In addition to this, counterfeit cosmetics have an economic impact on the legitimate industry which loses approximately 4.7 billion euros annually in the EU alone.
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