Officials: Counterfeit merchandise seized in South Carolina
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A six-month investigation has netted more than $300,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise from a store in South Carolina, state officials said.
South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond said an investigation by local, state and federal agencies began in March into the alleged sale of counterfeit goods by a business called NewImageSC and its operator, Quasheda Parker. At that time, the business was being conducted on Facebook, but eventually grew to include sales at a storefront in Columbia, Hammond said.
The counterfeit merchandise included shoes, clothing, sunglasses, jewelry, perfumes and colognes, watches, hats and face masks, and included trademarks from several popular brands such as Louis Vuitton, PINK, Versace, Chanel, Burberry, Gucci, Fendi, Cartier, Nike, Champion, NFL, NBA and NCAA, WYFF-TV reported.
“Counterfeit merchandise, largely from China, causes an estimated $225 billion in damage to our nation’s economy each year,” Hammond said.
On Sept. 9, a search warrant was executed at the store and at Parker’s residence in Irmo, Hammond said. He said authorities seized counterfeit merchandise valued at $316,315.00.
“Not only does counterfeit merchandise harm legitimate businesses, but it hurts consumers who purchase inferior and even dangerous products,” Hammond said. “Moreover, counterfeit merchandise trafficking funds organized crime and terrorism. Counterfeiting is not and never will be a victimless crime.”