Local News

Officials Say Consumers Help Terrorists By Purchasing Fake Merchandise

Posted July 4, 2003 6:40 a.m. EDT

— Many shoppers buy knock-off fashion merchandise to save money, but state investigators warn you could be helping terrorists.

Authorities recently confiscated fake designer purses, bags and belts at Crabtree Valley Mall in Raleigh. Julie Tetrault, the owner of Sparnikites, has been charged with selling merchandise that violates trademark laws.

Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said members of organized crime are often key suppliers of the fake goods. Federal investigators said the suspects who bombed the World Trade Center in 1993 supported themselves with illegal goods.

"I'm not saying this vendor was involved in organized crime, but the source -- the supply of these -- comes from people who are doing other bad deeds in the world," Marshall said.

Customs officials call this type of crime an ongoing concern. Plus, they point out the practice costs legitimate North Carolina retailers and manufacturers business and local communities lose sales tax money.