HAMPTON ROADS, Va. - A Currituck County man pleaded guilty to trafficking counterfeit merchandise in a flea market in Norfolk and his store in Chesapeake.
David Bessey was facing several felony charges after police seized dozens of fake Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Fendi and other knockoffs.
They took belts, sunglasses, purses, jeans, fanny packs, watches and other items after raiding his store.
In another recent case, Joseph Chianese and Juliana Schreiber plead guilty to similar charges. They bought items on the internet from Hong Kong and then sold them, according to the court documents.
According to the Department of Homeland Security:
The illegal importation, distribution and sale of counterfeit products pose a significant and growing threat to public health and safety. Counterfeiters do not care if their products contain the correct materials. They do not care if their products are made in sanitary conditions. They do not care if their products physically harm consumers. They do not care if their products result in economic damage to legitimate companies. Rather, they care about their product looking good enough to be purchased. They care about their bottom line.
Federal authority say there are a lot of problems with buying counterfeit products. They said the cost to the global economy is about $250 billion a year. They say counterfeiters don’t pay taxes, which means less money for your schools, hospitals, parks and other social programs.
They say most counterfeit goods are produced in sweatshops run by organized crime and profits often support terrorist groups, drug smugglers, sex traffickers and street gangs -- and it’s unfair to the people who make the legitimate products.