RECORD FINE IMPOSED

Apparel Counterfeiters Banned from L.A. Fashion District and Fined $26 Million

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer secured a permanent injunction barring two apparel and accessories merchants from the LA Fashion District, where they allegedly sold counterfeit items.

In addition, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge fined the two, Sergio Falcon and Jonna Garcia, $26.245 million in penalties. This is the largest counterfeiting judgment in the city’s history, the city attorney’s office said.

“Counterfeiting is highly corrosive to our community, victimizing the consumer and legitimate businesses as well as endangering public safety,” Feuer said in a statement issued on May 9.

Previously, the defendants were convicted of selling counterfeit goods on five separate occasions and given nine cease-and-desist letters, advising them to stop selling counterfeit goods, the city attorney’s office said.

In an order written by Superior Court Judge Richard Rico, Falcon and Garcia were prohibited from returning to the LA Fashion District area, bounded by Ninth Street to the north, 16th Street to the south, San Pedro Street to the east and Broadway to the west.

Additional restrictions also prohibit the defendants from operating any business in California related to the manufacture, sale or storage of goods commonly counterfeited, including clothing, related apparel, shoes, hats, bags, electronics, pharmaceuticals or software.

Falcon and Garcia previously operated T.J. Accessories, a clothing business at 310 E. Olympic Blvd., not far from the California Market Center.

Undercover investigations by the Los Angeles Police Department, in coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, resulted in the recovery of more than 10,498 counterfeit apparel and related items.

The court assessed the maximum civil penalty of $2,500 for each counterfeit item recovered from the store.

Deputy City Attorney Kevin A. Gilligan, from the city attorney’s counterfeit abatement prosecution program, prosecuted the case. Funding for the counterfeit abatement prosecutor is provided by a grant from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Earlier this year, the LA city attorney was successful in getting a permanent injunction banning Maria Luisa Sanchez, a downtown merchant, from the Maple Avenue area of the LA Fashion District.

She was found guilty of committing 1,596 trademark violations by selling counterfeit clothing, jewelry, handbags and other items from different storefronts. She was fined $3.96 million. Her most recent store was located at 1034 Maple Ave.

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