MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Over $148,000 worth of merchandise was seized, and three vendors were arrested during a multi-agency crackdown on counterfeit goods conducted on the Grand Strand over the weekend.
Secretary of State Mark Hammond and Horry County Police Chief Saundra Rhodes announced the arrests at a news conference Tuesday morning.
Anthony J. Samuels of Trenton, New Jersey, and Pamela L. Jackson of Winston Salem, North Carolina, were arrested and charged with distribution of counterfeit goods. Idrissa Samba of Southfield, Michigan was arrested and charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.
The merchandise included purses, shoes, wallets, watches, and belts that appeared to be from manufacturers including: Michael Kors, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Jimmy Choo, Chanel, Fendi, Prada, Nike, Timberland and Coach.
The retail value of the seized goods was estimated to be $148,910.00. A van used to transport goods and $2,730 in cash was also taken by police.
"The Horry County Police Department is appreciative of our partnership with the Office of the Secretary of State to address the sale of counterfeit merchandise and the citizens who bring this illegal activity to our attention," said Chief Saundra Rhodes of the Horry County Police Department. "Although there are numerous other crimes that are addressed during Bike Week, we owe it to our local business community to be very vigilant in stopping these sales."
"The sale of counterfeit merchandise exploits our tourists, hurts manufacturers, retailers, and the economy," said Secretary of State Mark Hammond. "I encourage consumers to question inappropriate pricing or markings on known 'designer' items, as well as where the items are being sold."
Distribution of counterfeit merchandise carries a fine of up to $20,000 and/or five years in prison, and trafficking in counterfeit goods carries a five-year prison term and fines up to $25,000.