Your Fake Purse Could Be Funding Terrorism

Counterfeit expert calls Plano a "suburban nightmare" of counterfeit goods

By Omar Villafranca
|  Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 11:44 PM CDT
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Spotting the Knock-Offs

NBCDFW.com

An expert on counterfeit products says he has spotted fake glasses and purses in Plano, calling it a "suburban nightmare."

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Spotting the Knock-Offs

Rob Holmes can spot a fake, and big-name companies are paying him to do it.
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Rob Holmes can spot a fake, and big-name companies are paying him to do it.

He said he has spotted fake glasses and purses in the hands of people living in Highland Park and Collin County.

"I have not seen more counterfeits on human beings in the world than I have in Plano," he said. "It is a suburban nightmare."

Holmes is CEO of IPCybercrime.com, a company that specializes in tracking counterfeit goods sold online.

"It's one of the world's largest industries, and it's definitely the world's largest underground industry," he said.

Holmes said most of the counterfeit goods are made in China and other Asian countries.

But after years of tracking down bootleg goods, he's learned that distributors -- not manufacturers -- make most of the money.

But the scary part is who some of the "middle men" are in real life: "Anybody from Joe in the middle of Kansas or the Lebanese mafia that funds Hezbollah and Hamas," Holmes said.

His office features a shelf of knock-off products he's ordered online -- everything from Chanel and Louis Vuitton purses to Tiffany rings. Some are shipped in regular containers, looking like the read deal. One fake watch he ordered even showed up in a toy violin that he had to disassemble to find the watch.

Holmes said customers who buy fake goods never know what they're really getting. He points to a bottle of perfume one his shelf that isn't the real deal.

"The two ingredients we have found in counterfeit perfume are urine and acid," Holmes said.

Holmes and his company will be featured on "Crime Inc. -- Counterfeit Goods," a CNBC special airing Wednesday at 8 p.m. on CNBC.

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