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Intellectual Property Rights

LA wholesaler sentenced for selling designer goods

Search of business turned up thousands of counterfeit handbags, shoes, and other apparel

LOS ANGELES - A Southern California wholesaler received a 30-month federal prison sentence today on criminal trademark infringement charges stemming from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Mohammed Siddiquee, 32, of Los Angeles, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge James V. Selna. Siddiquee operated Sitara Enterprises in the city's downtown garment district. During the investigation, ICE agents conducted undercover purchases of counterfeit handbags from Siddiquee and also observed him directing an employee to affix a counterfeited patch to a handbag.

In October 2008, ICE agents executed a federal search warrant at Siddiquee's business, seizing more than 10,000 counterfeit items. The items included handbags, scarves, hats, shoes, and other apparel, all bearing designer trademarks, such as Chanel, Coach, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, and Gucci. During the search, agents also seized counterfeit patches, emblems, and hangtags bearing the names and insignia for Coach, Prada, Dolce & Gabbana, and other designer brands.

"The trafficking of counterfeit goods is a global enterprise that robs legitimate companies of billions of dollars in revenues every year," said Robert Schoch, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Los Angeles. "What's more, these sales generate profits that often go to support other types of criminal activity so no one should ever consider this a victimless crime."