FRAUD in the news - Tiffany knockoffs on internet

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Nov 25, 2002
I know many folks have come here asking about "Tiffany" rings on eBay or other online venues. I saw this in the news yesterday; it''s a very sobering reminder about making absolutely sure you''re getting what''s represented.

Feds charge 3 in Tiffany knockoff scheme

NEW YORK (AP) - Tiffany & Co., with the help of the FBI, has cracked down on alleged peddlers of knockoff jewelry.
Acting on complaints from Tiffany, federal agents last week arrested a Staten Island couple, Yaniv Shamir and Renee Vargas, on charges they sold counterfeit sterling silver necklaces, bracelets and rings over the Internet. A Web site claimed the items were ''''acquired from liquidations and/or estate sales,'''' a criminal complaint said.
In a raid at the couple''s home, agents seized 600 pieces of jewelry, some in counterfeit versions of Tiffany''s trademark light blue packaging, the complaint said. Some jewelry allegedly was supplied by a Chinatown merchant, Chee-Soon Tai, who also was arrested.
A lawyer for Shamir and Vargas said his clients believed the merchandise was real.
''''They were legitimate business owners who had no idea they were doing something wrong,'''' said the attorney, Mario Galluicci.
A call to Tai''s attorney was not immediately returned.

The three defendants were arraigned on charges of conspiring to infringe on a copyright for personal gain. If convicted, they could each face up to five years in prison.



Feb 4, 2003
Wow, an opportunity to talk about law (my REAL area of expertise) on this board instead of diamonds. Before all the jewelers and merchants (and consumers who aren't paying attention) start freaking out about this, there are some clues as to why this is a CRIMINAL PROSECUTION case:

1) There were BLUE BOXES and LOGOS involved

2) The items were being passed off as actual Tiffany products from estate sales, etc.

This tells you that the products were being probably being advertised as ACTUAL TIFFANY, complete with logo, box, and probably other paperwork. The crime here is COUNTERFEITING.

Most of the "Tiffany style" merchandise I've seen on the internet is just that, advertised and sold as "Tiffany style". If you read the fine print on almost any jewelry ad that uses the word Tiffany, you'll find that almost none of it claims to actually be REAL Tiffany goods.

I did notice that the defense attorney is already claiming his clients were scammed and they didn't know any better. Sounds like a reasonable defense.

But this is another lesson in Caveat Emptor. I guess it pays to be careful in what you purchase. Pay attention.
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