Atlantic Beach -- The Secretary of State’s Office partnered with the Horry County Police Department last weekend to arrest three vendors charged with distribution of counterfeit merchandise, illegal distribution of recordings, and trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The counterfeit merchandise included CDs, jeans, sunglasses, hats, handbags, shoes, wallets, cell phone covers, iPad covers, and DVDs. Some companies misrepresented were Air Jordan, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Lacoste, Louis Vuitton, Major League Baseball, Motion Picture Association of America, National Hockey League, NCAA, NFL, Nike, Oakley, Polo, Recording Industry of America, True Religion and Versace.
The Secretary of State’s Office has worked with the Horry County Police Department in the past to shut down counterfeit operations during the Atlantic Beach Bikefest. Arrested this weekend were Kinda Assani, Mamadu Camara, and Khalita Ababacar Diop. As a condition of operating a booth at the Atlantic Beach Bikefest, all vendors were required to sign a Vendor Registration Form from the Town of Atlantic Beach that read, in part, “Counterfeit merchandise is prohibited.” The investigation is ongoing.
“This shows that there continues to be a problem with counterfeit goods being brought into Horry County,” said Lt. Jamie DeBari of the Horry County Police Department. “We will continue to work in partnership with the Secretary of State’s Office to protect consumers from individuals who attempt to sell fake and fraudulent goods.”
“The sale of counterfeit merchandise is not a victimless crime. It exploits our tourists, hurts manufacturers, retailers, and the economy,” said Secretary of State Mark Hammond. “I encourage consumers to question inappropriate pricing or markings on known ‘designer’ items, as well as where the items are being sold.”
Distribution of counterfeit merchandise carries a fine of up to $20,000 and/or five years imprisonment. Trafficking in counterfeit goods, as well as illegal distribution of recordings, carries a five year prison term with fines up to $250,000. Trafficking of counterfeit goods valued between $10,000 and $50,000 is a felony with a fine up to $20,000 and five years in jail or both. More stringent trademark legislation was passed in 2006 as a result of the joint efforts of law enforcement and the Secretary of State’s Office.
For more information regarding trademark violations or to register a trademark in the State of South Carolina, contact Secretary of State Mark Hammond’s office at (803) 734-2170.