Counterfeiting becoming a local issue

Feb. 22, 2012 at 4:25 PM
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EAST LANSING, Mich., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- State and local police are increasingly on the front lines against product counterfeiting, U.S. criminologists say.

Michigan State University criminologists Justin Heinonen and Jeremy Wilson say local law enforcement personnel were involved in nearly half of the identified product counterfeiting cases related to Michigan, ranging from jewelry to car windshields to cholesterol drugs.

"Product counterfeiting may have links to terrorism and international organized crime, so the assumption is that only the federal authorities are handling it," Heinonen said Wednesday in a release.

"But we found that local authorities are often involved in investigating these incidents as well. They can play an important role."

MSU, in a project funded by the U.S. Justice Department, will develop counterfeiting awareness videos and conduct training sessions for state and local police in Michigan this summer, he said.

The university's Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection Program estimates the global market for counterfeiting has risen from about $30 billion in the 1980s to as much as $600 billion today, the MSU release said.

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