Global Illicit Economy’s effect on the Real Economy

It is not hard to imagine that counterfeit money would be pumped into the legitimate economy using sophisticated money laundering networks targeting consumer products companies.  Purchasing products destined for export from the US can be done with these fake currencies. By the time the exporting companies realize they have been duped it would be too late to revert the shipment.  The complexity of the shipping network and the way counterfeiters move these funds make it difficult if not impossible to trace back to the original source.  Colombia for its part is one of the world’s hot spot for counterfeiting banknotes. It is no coincidence that some Colombian importers have also relied on sophisticated drug money laundering schemes, whereby they buy and sell products with the proceeds of drug trafficking, pumping the dirty money into US companies’ coffers.  They same channels are used to funnel counterfeit banknotes.  

Colombia Seizes $6.2 Million in Counterfeit Greenbacks

BOGOTA – Agents with Colombia’s DAS security service found a clandestine printing press in a southern Bogota neighborhood on Wednesday, seized a little more than $6 million in counterfeit $100 bills and arrested one person, authorities said.

The fake money was almost ready to be placed on the market and was going to be sold in Ecuador, Peru, Venezuela and the United States, said detectives from the DAS anti-counterfeiting unit.

The printing press was discovered after a raid on a house in the La Fraguita neighborhood, where the DAS found the forged $100 bills to be “of excellent quality.”

Also seized in the raid were assorted other items, including a lithograph, inks, 26 plates with the obverse and reverse of the $100 bill with the series numbers of the original bills, the watermarks and the security filaments.

One of the plates found in the house had the shield of the U.S. Treasury Department on it, DAS said.

On Oct. 7, the DAS seized $6.16 million in counterfeit $100 bills in Soacha, near Bogota, and $3.75 million worth of phony dollars in the southwestern city of Cali, where agents dismantled several illegal printing presses. EFE

July’s Counterfeiting By The Numbers

Did you know that approximately $90 million in pirated and counterfeit goods have been seized in July 2009 alone?

Italy seizes millions in Chinese counterfeit goods ($28 Million approx.)

BoC seizes fake imported goods from China ($5.7M approx.)

HP and Dubai Police seize fakes worth Dh70 million ($19 million approx.)

Police seize $340,000 in counterfeit clothing from Newport News merchant

Customs seizes $1.1 million of counterfeit jeans at port

Police: NYC bust nets thousands of fake goods ($10 Million approx.)

60,000 Russian DVDs Seized At 4 Shops ($400K approx.)

100,000 pirated CDs seized including MJs songs ($147K approx.)

Cigarettes worth over £1m seized ($1.7M approx.)

ATF seizes 12 million counterfeit Marlboro cigarettes made in China ($500K approx.)

Counterfeit medical products seized in Lesotho INTERPOL-supported operation ($500K)

Fake and expired drugs seized; counterfeit and expired drugs were seized in Kenya’s Eldoret Town and a suspect arrested in a crackdown by the Pharmacy and Poison Board ($1M approx.)

Raid Nets Over 26,000 Pieces of Counterfeit Tiffany Jewelry ($2.6 M approx.)

Seven million cigarettes seized ($5M approx.)

9m cigarettes are seized at docks ($6.7M approx.)

Malaysian police bust video piracy ring ($600K approx.)

Police arrest, charge man after seizing over 15,000 pirated DVDs – Mt Pritchard ($450K)

P40M worth of counterfeit goods seized ($840K approx.)

£3m in fake goods seized ($5M approx.)


Organized Crime and Counterfeiting

Film Piracy, Organized Crime, and Terrorism

Publisher: RAND Corporation | ISBN: 0833045652 | edition 2008 | PDF | 182 pages | 2,75 mb
This report presents the findings of research into the involvement of organized crime and terrorist groups in counterfeiting products ranging from watches to automobile parts, from pharmaceuticals to computer software. It presents detailed case studies from around the globe in one area of counterfeiting, film piracy, to illustrate the broader problem of criminal groups finding a new and not-much-discussed way of funding their activities.

Global Counterfeiting Trade

Counterfeiting is a $ 200 billion global problem.  Combating it takes persistence and ingenuity….
Italy: Hotline Tips Lead to Record Haul of Counterfeit Pesticides
Following hotline tip-offs, Italian police have seized over 120 tones of counterfeit pesticides – the European Union’s biggest haul – in a landmark series of raids that turned the spotlight on illegal trade.