Fake designer fashions and accessories downtown are a fixture. They've been there longer than most loft-dwellers. And while there have been occasional crackdowns, you pretty much count on being able to find three things downtown: Heroin, homeless addicts and counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags.
But today the L.A. City Attorney's office made a move to quash at least some of this crime.
It got a permanent injunction against to Fashion District purveyors of fine counterfeit crap, the office announced today.
The shops of Fernando Barrios and his wife, Vanessa Guerra, were told by the court to stop "selling, storing, or possessing any kind of counterfeit items at any location," according to a City Attorney's statement.
The shops were alleged to have had an inventory of 37,000 counterfeit items since 2005. Authorities told the pair to stop selling fake stuff five times, the City Attorney's office says.
The stores, Deportes Si Se Puede and Fernando Sport, are at the Santee Alley-adjacent addresses of 1325 S. Main St. and 112 E. Pico Blvd., City Attorney's spokesman Frank Mateljan told the Weekly.
The couple is also ordered to pay $50,000 in penalties and open their doors any time the law comes by to sniff around. If they sell fake stuff again they'll see a $100,000 fine under the order.
The Los Angeles Economic Development Corporation (LAEDC) claims that counterfeit goods cost the retail sector $2 billion in losses in one year alone.
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Of course, what they don't tell you is that hundreds of thousands of people visit the Fashion District and Santee Alley specifically to buy fake crap they wouldn't otherwise purchase -- fueling an entire industry based on cheap Chinese imports. (How can that possibly be worth negative money?).
(We're always doubtful when it comes to studies about losses involving counterfeit and pirated items. They often assume a loss as a result of someone opting for a fake, $30 Louis Vuitton bag versus the real thing at four figures. Really? The cleaning lady was going to spend $5,000 on a bag but was just too tempted by the fake?).
Anyway, now we know where the only two stores near Santee Alley are that don't sell counterfeit goods. So you can avoid them.