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Business owner indicted for counterfeit sales

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

July 28, 2008

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - The owner of an East Albany business is indicted for 15 felony counts of selling counterfeit goods.

Investigators say there is still a big problem in Dougherty County, with people selling fake jeans, shoes, purses and the like. And they say it is not a victimless crime.

44 year old Dervin Cunningham is charged with selling counterfeit items, from Nike Shoes to Gucci and Louis Vuitton purses to Apple Bottom jeans. Prosecutors say Sheriff's Investigators checked Cunningham's store, D and D Perfume on East Oglethorpe in December 2007, and found the counterfeit goods for sale.

Sheriff's Investigators say this is not an isolated crime. Dougherty County Sheriff's Office Captain Craig Dodd said "Oh yea, we encounter it all the time."

Investigators say usually it's people selling counterfeit items out of truck beds in parking lots, but they also find counterfeits being sold in store fronts as well.

Investigators say it's usually easy for a shopper to spot a fake name product.  Dodd said "If you see what you know is a three hundred to five hundred dollar purse, and they are selling it for $49.99, they just don't have deals like that."

We went to Cunningham's store, and he was not in, and did not return our calls. But the clerk there laughed when we told them about the indictment, saying it was silly to care about selling counterfeit goods. But Investigators say it's no joke. Dodd said "It's not a victimless crime. they have people in sweat shops making these things, basically akin to slave labor."

Investigators say Federal Agencies have tied the manufacture of some counterfeit items back to foreign organized crime syndicates. Sheriff's Investigators say they are doing all they can do to keep counterfeit sales out of Dougherty County,  because it is not a victimless crime.

We also tried to contact Mr. Cunningham's lawyer, but he had no comment on the indictment.

Federal authorities say Georgia is known as a distributing center for counterfeit goods.

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