Phony Electronics Found at 2 Downtown L.A. Stores

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer announced today that his office has secured permanent injunctions and civil penalties against two downtown electronics merchants who were selling counterfeit cell phone chargers, cables and phone cases.

The two merchants, Wei Liang Huang and Hicham Ofir, were each found to be in violation of the Unfair Competition Law and trademark infringement for selling counterfeit goods. They were both placed under a 10-year injunction which prohibits future sales of counterfeit goods and restricts their future business activities. The two were also ordered to pay $10,000 each in civil penalties, and an additional $60,000 in civil penalties was suspended unless the defendants commit another violation or do not comply with the terms of the injunction.

``Counterfeit electronics, including phone chargers, pose a significant shock and fire hazard -- and the overwhelming majority of them don't work properly,'' Feuer said. ``We will continue to protect consumers from dangerous fake goods, and commend our partners at the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department and electronics safety tester UL (Underwriters Laboratories) for collaborating to stop these businesses from selling counterfeit products.''

Undercover officers and investigators recovered nearly 15,000 items with a retail value of more than $250,000 at the two downtown stores and affiliated locations.

Huang has sold his downtown business, Amco Wireless at 443 S. Los Angeles St., and is no longer operating in Los Angeles, while Ofir's business, Ofir Cell Phone Accessories at 39 E. Fifth St., continues to operate but is now subject to warrantless search and seizure by law enforcement.

Ofir and Huang are also required to notify the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office in writing if they wish to open any business in the state of California, and any future businesses opened by either in the state would be subject to warrantless search and seizure for the duration of the injunction.

Counterfeit electronics fail 99 percent of the time and the products pose a fire and shock risk, Feuer's office said.

``UL's certification marks are symbols of trust, integrity and safety, signaling that the product has been tested to protect against fire hazards, risk of electrocution and other safety risks,'' UL Vice President and Chief Security Officer Brian Monks said. ``Products bearing a counterfeit UL mark provide a false sense of security to consumers because these items are often poor quality, shoddy and sometimes very dangerous. UL takes the threat of counterfeiting very seriously and devotes significant resources to fighting it; this includes working with law enforcement officials to identify and remove counterfeit products from the marketplace that can pose serious risk to the public. UL would like to graciously thank the Los Angeles City Attorney's Office for their hard work and successful outcome to these two investigations.''

Photo: Los Angeles City Attorney's Office

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