Major Brand Counterfeiting Ring Broken

September 12, 2003

"Major Brand Counterfeiting Ring Broken"

Los Angeles: On September 10, 2003, investigators from the Los Angeles Police Department, assisted by the United States Custom Service, served search warrants at five locations in the downtown area. The service of the warrants resulted in the arrest of five individuals for counterfeit sales. In excess of $9.7 million dollars of counterfeit merchandise, including, but not limited to, Makita, DeWalt, Black and Decker, Sony, Canon, Rolex and pirated DVD’s were recovered. Representatives from the mentioned companies were in attendance to provide positive identification of counterfeit items.
The investigation began when detectives from Organized Crime and Vice Division (OCVD) received complaints from the above companies. An undercover investigation in association with Investigative Consultants was initiated resulting in the purchase of numerous items of counterfeit merchandise. Power tools were not only relabeled but "UL" stickers (Underwriter’s Laboratory) were also placed on the tools indicating they had been inspected and certified as being safe to operate. Some of the items were also marked with "Home Depot" UPC price stickers. It appears that most of the "Look Alike" tools had been imported from China and then relabeled to be sold.
The search warrants were served at locations in the 100 block of West 5th Street, 400 block of South Main Street (2 locations) and 100 block of East Winston Street.
Arrested for 350 PC (Sales of Counterfeit Products) were, Saeid Shahedi, 55 years of age, Andrew Salas, 35 years of age, Farokh Tabizian, 36 years of age, Bahram Zahab, 37 years of age, and Maria Venegas, 58 years of age. The suspects will be arraigned in Division 30, on October 1, 2003, at 8:30 a.m. Anyone seeking additional information is asked to call Detective Rick Ishitani at 213-473-7669.
It is estimated that counterfeiting and piracy, costs the United States economy $200 Billion dollars a year, as stated by the International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition.
This media release was prepared by Officer Don Cox, Media Relations Section, 213-485-3586.