LA Attorney's Office Hands Down Largest Counterfeit Fine To Date

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson, in connection with the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office, has fined a California-based counterfeiter with a $3.96 million fine after she was found guilty of selling and possessing fake jewelry, apparel and handbags. Maria Luisa Sanchez, who had been selling counterfeit designer goods (think: fake Rolex, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier watches; and Louis Vuitton and Balenciaga bags, among other goods) for the last four years to various establishments in Los Angeles, including a store than she ran, was fined $2,500 for each of the 1,586 counterfeit items that she sold or had for sale.

In addition to the hefty fine, Sanchez must cease "all business operations" and not be present at any location where counterfeit goods are "sold, stored, manufactured or transported," according to the LA City Attorney's Office. Moreover, she is also ordered to notify the City Attorney’s Office in writing if she owns, operates or works in a Los Angeles business related to commonly counterfeited items. Sanchez’s conviction represents the second time a fine has been levied against a counterfeiter by the CAO in the last six months. In 2012, she was convicted for the sale and possession of counterfeit goods.

The City Attorney's Office says this is the largest fine it has ever handed down in a counterfeiting case. According to a statement from City Atty. Mike Feuer: "Counterfeit goods hurt legitimate businesses and deprive the public of needed tax revenues to fund vital city services. The judgment is testament to how seriously our office and the courts view counterfeiting. Counterfeit goods hurt legitimate businesses and deprive the public of needed tax revenues to fund vital city services."