Gokhan Kucuk of Huntington Beach, John Giang Ly of Westminster and Garden Grove shoe shop owner Joon Heung Son are facing felony charges stemming from "Operation Fashion Faux Pas," an Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation of Orange County retailers suspected of dealing in counterfeit designer goods. Kucuk, 33, operates Hot Trends kiosks in Surf City, 24-year-old Ly sells purses out of his home, and Son is the 45-year-old owner of Shoe World stores in Garden Grove and LA.
The Hot Trender being in hot water is not new: both Kucuk and Ly have been previously convicted of state intellectual property violations, notes ICE Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) authorities in a statement. While feds led the operation, the charges are being brought in state Super Court in Santa Ana by the Orange County District Attorney's office.
When HSI special agents served a search warrant at Kucuk's three kiosks last November, they seized hundreds of wallets, cell phone cases and jewelry bearing counterfeit trademarks for such designer brands as Burberry and Prada, according to the HSI release.
That same month, a search of Ly's Westminster residence turned up phony designer purses purporting to be manufactured by Hermes, Louis Vuitton and Chanel, the agency alleges.
Over at Garden Grove's Shoe World, special agents seized several dozen pairs of counterfeit footwear, including shoes bearing bogus Juicy Couture and Tory Burch labels, HSI reports.
The goods seized from all three vendors would have retailed for close to $100,000 had the merchandise been genuine, claims HSI, which was assisted in the busts by local cops from Westminster, Garden Grove and Huntington Beach.
Operation Fashion Faux Pas has now nabbed seven Orange County vendors, including the suppliers and proprietors of Cobbler's Corner in Laguna Beach and the operators of Spa by Mode in Westminster. The 18 warranted and consensual searches have resulted seizures of more than $820,000 worth of counterfeit purses, jewelry, sunglasses, cosmetics, perfume and other goods, HSI boasts.
Oh, and the agency reminds shoppers that Friday is World Intellectual Property Day, which since 1970 has been marked every April 26 "to recognize the importance of intellectual property in encouraging innovation and creativity."