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Seen and heard: counterfeiting news in brief

Counterfeit electronics sentencing; fake UK vodka factory; Moldovan trademark infringement; and knock-off fire extinguishers.


Counterfeit electronic product importer gets 37 months

An Italian man has been sentenced to 37 months in prison for importing fake electronic goods from China – including Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods and Sony camcorders – and selling them to unsuspecting US customers. 54-year-old Rosario La Marca, who lives in Naples, previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods, to smuggle goods into US, and trafficking in counterfeit goods. The estimated manufacturers' suggested retail prices for an equivalent number of genuine items would have exceeded $15m, according to US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement. La Marca and fellow defendants – Venezuelan Andreina Becerra (32), Italian Roberto Volpe (35), and Jianhua Li, 42, a Chinese national – are said to have made more than 100 illegal wire transfers totalling more than $1.1m to Hong Kong to facilitate their criminal activity. Volpe and Becerra have both pleaded guilty to their roles in the scheme and await sentencing. Li has pleaded not guilty.


Fake vodka factory found in Liverpool

The UK authorities have uncovered an illegal factory producing "potentially dangerous" counterfeit vodka – labelled as No 01 Imperial Vodka Blue – in Aintree, Liverpool. Along with bottling machinery, bottle tops and other labelling materials, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers found a 1,000-litre drum containing vodka – currently under analysis – and 80 cases containing 12 one-litre bottles. The illicit bottling plant has been dismantled and the alcohol, worth an estimated £45,000 in unpaid duty, has been removed for further tests, according to an HMRC statement. Similar seizures in the North West in 2015 were found to contain anti-freeze.


Moldovan firm fined for copying fashion brand trademarks

Moldovan company Uzprimatex has been ordered to pay 277,000 lei (around $15,000) in material damages to brand-owners Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Hugo Boss and Trussardi, plus 10,000 lei apiece for moral damages, according to en.crimemoldova.com. Uzprimatex marketed products bearing the plaintiffs' trademarks but had not concluded any official distribution contract with the respective firms and never had any commercial relations with them, says the report.


Qatar authorities seize fake fire extinguishers

The Consumer Protection Department (CPD) of Qatar's Ministry of Economy and Commerce intercepted thousands of counterfeit fire extinguishers from a shop operating in the Salwa area, according to MENAFN.com. A surprise raid – part of a wider clampdown on products that do not meet specifications in the country – uncovered more than 100 fake devices in the shop and around 8,000 in storage to the rear of the unit.


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