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Counterfeits Prove Hazardous to Health

Business Threat Awareness Council Member Talks About the Deadly Business of Counterfeits

09 December 2005

New York, NY — Business Threat Awareness Council board member, Shawn Lewis, was recently interviewed by News 1 reporter Solana Pyne on the counterfeit designer goods trade in New York City.

Mr. Lewis, an investigator for the designer clothing industry, tracks the producers and sellers of counterfeit goods in the metro NYC area. He has been fighting these criminals for more than ten years and has seen the problem grow.

“Sales of counterfeits may be funding the activities of terrorists and violent gangs. Profits are high and risk is low, making this underworld industry very attractive to criminals…” investigator Lewis said.

Counterfeiting of trademarked goods is a crime and an international problem of enormous scale. The value of the international fakes trade is estimated to be $512 Billion annually. This year alone, the NYPD has confiscated about $8 million in fake designer goods.

Counterfeits can be dangerous in other ways too. Sweat shops that produce these goods often use child labor and indentured servants in unsafe working environments.

Sometimes the products themselves can be deadly such as bogus pharmaceuticals containing no medicine, baby formula made with plaster, faulty electronics that catch fire, batteries that explode and counterfeit airplane parts made from soft aluminum instead of titanium steel.

“It is important for consumers to know where their dollars are going when they buy counterfeits. Although the victims are not always visible, there is no such thing as a victimless crime.”

Shawn Lewis is a board member and actively involved with the steering committee of the Business Threat Awareness Council.

The Business Threat Awareness Council is a voluntary group of professionals from the private and public sectors whose main goals are to improve threat awareness, promote best practices in threat management and business counterintelligence, and to disseminate this information to American businesses.

BTAC is a non-partisan and non-commercial organization. BTAC meetings are forums to exchange ideas, alert others to new and existing threats, and to meet like-minded professionals for the purpose of strengthening the infrastructure of America's commerce. For further information about BTAC and council events please visit

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*For Solana Pyne's NY1 report: “Are Cheap Designer Knockoffs Funding Illegal Activity?” Go to:

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