Seen and heard: counterfeiting news in brief

Fake vodka and counterfeit Peppa Pig products seized, counterfeit steroids, increasing demand for holograms, fake olive oil arrests, nuclear tech in food fraud, and dodgy websites move underground

Fake vodka seized in Ireland

Counterfeit alcohol worth almost half a million euros has been seized from a farm in Ireland. According to the Irish Mirror, revenue officers seized 586 litres of bottled fake vodka and 4,000 litres of raw alcohol product, which could produce around 12,000 litres of fake vodka, along with production equipment, and bogus packaging and labels. The bootleg liquor contained denatured industrial alcohol. The investigation is ongoing.

China seizes knockoff Peppa Pig products

Thousands of counterfeit products bearing the children’s cartoon character Peppa Pig, such as toothbrushes and shampoo, have been seized in China, the BBC reports. The seizures follow a raid of warehouses, offices and factories in Yangzhou after the trademark owner Entertainment One alerted authorities that fakes were being sold online, including on marketplace Head of the company YOUmEiLE has been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

Guilty plea over trafficking of counterfeit steroids

A man from Massachusetts has pleaded guilty in US federal court to multiple charges related to his role in a conspiracy to traffic counterfeit steroids, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement says. Philip Goodwin, 37, of Lynn, Massachusetts, was arrested in April this year along with five others for operating a counterfeit steroid scam where steroid products were manufactured in Goodwin’s home from ingredients sourced from overseas and then fraudulently labelled as Onyx steroids. The fake supplements were sold to customers across the US using email and social media platforms. Fellow conspirator Tyler Bauman, also known as musclehead 320, pleaded guilty in August for his role in the scam.  

Demand for holograms increases

The demand for holograms and the integration of the technology with other authentication tools is expected to increase in 2018, the International Hologram Manufacturers Association believes. With Asia, notably India and China, being counterfeiting hotspots, the Association says there is “unprecedented scope for growth for holograms” and expects the 3D images to be increasingly adopted in brand protection strategies as technology advances, alongside more industry and government collaboration to tackle the problem of counterfeits. Furthermore, the growing interest in polymer notes and the arrival of new banknotes in 2018, including the new Armenian series, new notes from Canada and Australia, and the new Swiss 200 Franc, will strengthen the role of holographic security features, the Association says.   

Seven arrests in fake olive oil scam

Seven Greeks have been arrested and charged with fraudulently selling large quantities of adulterated sunflower oil as olive oil, reports. The criminal gang, made up of a family of four and three relatives, operated a workshop where they added a dye to sunflower seed oil to turn it green to resemble olive oil. The oil had been sold to Greek consumers ad also exported, mainly to Germany. The racket came to light when olive oil producers claimed their unique producer codes were turning up on products not sold by them. Those arrested are believed to be the main operators of a wider olive oil scam in the country, which has already seen 60 people arrested.

Nuclear tech used in food fraud

A new Co-ordinated Research Project that will utilise nuclear analytical techniques plans to aid the work of police, courts and customs in food fraud and other criminal cases, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement. The four-year forensic science project using ion beam accelerators and research reactors will be divided into three main areas looking at food authentication by detecting adulterants, analysis of crime scene glass shards and the investigation of art forgery.  

Dodgy websites move underground

Recent crackdowns on dodgy websites has seen a surge in the number of vendors moving to the dark web to sell their illicit wares, a report by Europol and the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction reveals. According to an article published by Newsweek, there is increasing activity on the dark web, which is more anonymous, after authorities closed down more than 20,000 rogue websites selling drugs and counterfeit goods. Experts noted there was a concern that criminal operations were not being entirely disrupted as a result of the dark web.

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