New York — Anticounterfeiting efforts focused on landlords have resulted in the seizure of tens of millions of dollars worth of counterfeit merchandise and the closure of more than a dozen locations here.
Since December 2003, a joint initiative of the Mayor’s Office for Midtown Enforcement and the New York City Police Department has seized in excess of $45 million of counterfeit merchandise and taken 13 of the largest buildings involved in the counterfeit trade off the market, according to Richard Plansky, the Mayor’s deputy criminal justice coordinator. The Office of the Criminal Justice Coordinator oversees the Office for Midtown Enforcement.
“It is getting better in the Garment District where we’ve been focusing most of our efforts with the initiative,” Plansky told WWD.
The joint initiative has focused primarily on landlords in the Garment District — the section of Manhattan that runs along Broadway in the 20s and 30s — which has many warehouses and showrooms that provide the requisite amounts of space required for flea market-like counterfeit operations to establish themselves.
The initiative has used a three-pronged approach in its efforts to fight counterfeiters, Plansky said. Search warrants allow investigators to remove counterfeit goods, while building-, health- and fire-code inspections provide evidence to obtain vacate orders that take control of dangerous structures. Finally, legal action is taken against landlords and large-scale operators under nuisance abatement laws, which say that a building cannot be used for an illegal purpose.