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Chanel, Gucci, Burberry... Texas Sheriff's Investigators Seize Thousands In Knock-Off Goods From Mall

HOUSTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Detectives with the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office seized more than 1,200 counterfeit items from a business located within The Woodlands Mall on Dec. 1.

The counterfeit items were sold under many of the following name brands: Burberry, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, and Gucci. After the initial investigation, detectives were able to locate, identify, and seize the items, including cell phone cases, watchbands, earbuds, and numerous other goods, which collectively were valued at more than $32,000.

Upon further investigation and subsequent interview, the store owner admitted knowing they were fake -- ordered directly from a manufacturer overseas. Detectives forwarded that information to the appropriate agencies for an international investigation. They were also able to obtain affidavits from several of the name brand companies listed regarding the confirmation of the counterfeit items seized.

The case is an active investigation with felony charges to be filed locally with the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office and The Montgomery County Sheriff's Office.

The retail values for the actual name brand products that were counterfeited was $648,000.

10 Ways to Spot Counterfeit Goods

  • Stitching - When a product is authentic, the stitching will appear much cleaner than is duped counterparts.
  • Fastenings - Be wary of zippers and pulls on designer bags and jackets. The fastenings on counterfeit items tend to be glossy, lightweight, and will often chip or peel after excessive use.
  • Logo - Probably the easiest way to spot a counterfeit item is by looking at the logo design. The logo on designer brands should look perfect; there should be no details missing from the company name or logo icon. 
  • Buttons - If you're about to purchase a peacoat or button down, check the buttons if you're unsure the item is real or fake. Genuine brand buttons will have the company name engraved, while counterfeits will use a cheap and light plastic that's unlabeled. The buttons should also be sewn on securely when it's an authentic item.
  • Leather -One of the easiest ways to spot a counterfeit item is by determining whether or not it is made from real leather. When picking up the item, run your hand over the surface. If the surface of the item feels smooth and even, then chances are the product is a fake. Real leather will have a slightly uneven texture.
  • Spelling - When looking at the logo, be sure that the brand name is spelled correctly. Don't forget to check tags to see whether or not the spelling is correct there.
  • Fabric - The fabric of authentic items should feel weighted and of finer quality. The fabric should not have pulls or rips in it, nor should the color fade or bleed. 
  • Packaging - The packaging of authentic items (an important branding element) is of sturdy material and the item should fit perfectly inside the casing. Look for branded cloth drawstring bags and branded tissue paper — counterfeit items will not have these details included.
  • Prices - If a price on a designer item is too good to be true, then chances are it's a fake. Most designer brands will not heavily discount their products, so if you see one at nearly 75% off the original price, be wary.
  • Supplementary Materials - Always confirm that there are supplementary materials included within the packaging. Tech products such as laptops, headphones, speakers, and even kitchen gadgets will all have the proper owner's manual and instructions included. Check that all of the pieces to the product are included in the box as oftentimes this is not the case. Check for batteries (if stated that they are included), remotes, attachments, and warranty information. 


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