Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $374,979)
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Community Partnerships Bureau established the Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement Team (CAPE) in 2009. CAPE has developed a successful program to address crimes against intellectual property rights (IPR). If awarded, CAPE will improve by implementing more aggressive mechanisms. Enhancing partnerships with the public, businesses, and local, state, and federal partners with the intent to increase public health and safety will decrease theft of trade secrets and increase large-scaled commercial counterfeit and piracy enforcement operations.
CAPE operates within a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Homeland Security Investigations (HSI IPR Group), Los Angeles City Attorneys Anti-Counterfeit Enforcement Program (LACA), and the California Department of Justice Tax Recovery in the Underground Economy (TRUE).
Since being awarded the 2020FY BJA grant, CAPE has seized over 300,000 counterfeit items totaling over 124 million dollars. Seized were harmful concentrated cannabis products, illicit human and animal pharmaceuticals, unsafe automotive parts, electronics, and much more.
CAPE will cultivate public involvement. Improving public awareness of IPR dangers will increase the reporting and identification of additional IPR targets and lower local demand of such goods.
CAPE plans to alert the public through meetings and media outlets. For example, CAPE has partnered with IPR victim Merck & Co. (Pharmaceutical Company) and recently launched a large campaign to publicize the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and the killing of loved ones due to the unwitting consumption of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. New strategies with LA Regional Crime Stoppers will increase notifications to CAPE of IPR crimes.
CAPE plans to address large-scale commercial counterfeit operations by utilizing partnerships with HSI IPR Group and US Customs and Border Protection. The joint investigations will help identify the multifarious components of the commercial network of individuals, businesses, transports, and warehouses involved in the importation and distribution of counterfeit goods. Through examining shipping containers, conducting surveillance of controlled deliveries, and employing other appropriate investigative and enforcement actions.
CAPE will further deliver by partnering and cultivating new relationships with local, state, and federal agencies. CAPE’s past IPR investigations has led to new partnerships with the CA Bureau of Cannabis Control, FDA, and other federal offices. CAPE has and will continue to utilize LACLEAR to deconflict and encourage collaborative investigations for increased officer and public safety.
If awarded, CAPE expects an increased amount of reported and investigated IPR crimes compared to past years, in addition to the increase of investigating higher value targets.