Bogus Goods Siphon Profits From Year-End Shopping Sprees
Expressing concern that New York state is poised to lose billions of dollars in income during the year-end holiday shopping season because of the counterfeit goods trade, state Senator Frank Padavan declared, “We must curb this hemorrhage of important state revenues... especially since there is such a great need to meet our other obligations.”
Pointing out that the state loses close to $3 billion a year because of counterfeiting and that total sales of counterfeit goods here amounted to almost $34 billion, Padavan said that the illegal copying and sale of consumer goods “is slowly chiseling away at our economy, killing businesses and adding to the crime that festers on our streets.”
As bad as it is for legitimate businesses and the state and national economy, Padavan said, counterfeit trade also has a deleterious effect on illegal immigrants.
“Oftentimes,” he explained, “illegal immigrants are forced into an environment of lawlessness, facilitating illegal activities in order to provide for their families. The very nature of the illegal activity they are involved with leads them farther down the illegal road, turning them to a life of crime.”
Counterfeiting, as the name suggests, is the illegal production and sale of all types of consumer goods and clothing, pharmaceuticals, auto and aviation parts, computers, toys, and DVDs of movies, frequently before the movie is officially released for sale in video stores.
Padavan said that, working with several industry leaders and government groups, he introduced legislation that helps put a stop to illegal counterfeiting. That bill passed the senate, but got nowhere in the Assembly.
Now, utilizing the newest findings of the New York State Senate Majority Task Force On Immigration, which he chairs and which recently released a report entitled “The Counterfeit Connection,” Padavan has drafted legislation which he intends to introduce at the beginning of the next session.
He says the bill enacts the solutions provided in The Counterfeit Connection. But he pointed out that action still needs to be taken by the Democrat-controlled Assembly to at least bring it to the floor for a debate.
The fallout from consumer goods counterfeiting is so serious because businesses are being forced to move or go out of business because of lost revenue, meaning less revenue for the state. “Meanwhile,” Padavan declared, “the criminal element prospers, providing more money for illegal activity, including the funding of terrorism—unless we address the problem.”
In addition to the economic losses caused by the counterfeit goods trade, Padavan said, the Counterfeit Connection report documents the implications for public health and safety including pharmaceuticals. “And with the advent of technology, counterfeiting has become even more advanced,” he stated. “Intellectual property theft is fast becoming one of the biggest criminal activities around. Computers and mass-production equipment churn out, in a very short time, bootleg DVDs.”
Returning again to the illegal counterfeiting–illegal immigrant connection Padavan stated, “In addition to the adverse effects the counterfeit trade has on New York residents, businesses and the state, counterfeiting has an even greater detrimental effect on immigrants.”
He explains, “The problem of illegal immigration, which is supported through criminal activity, weighs heavily against illegal immigrants, who come to this country to pursue the American dream. We are all immigrants. It adds to the cultural diversity that makes our country so great. However, those choosing illegal immigration are alienated from the true immigrant. Illegal aliens work in direct conflict with the very system they profess to want to join.”
But, he adds, “Whether these illegal aliens chose crime because they are forced or coerced into criminal activity, or they are tempted by fast, easy money, the answer is simple: We cannot allow criminal activity to flourish—we must put a stop to it. We need to do everything possible to protect immigration, protect our communities, protect our businesses and protect New York.”
Padavan notes that another serious problem growing out of the counterfeiting–immigrant relationship is human trafficking.
“It is nothing less than a form of modern day slavery,” he explains. “Immigrants, looking for a better life, are threatened physically, through intimidation and deception. Many are forced into prostitution, as well as other illegal activities, including the counterfeit goods trade.”
Padavan has been studying the plight of immigrants since the early 1990s. In 1994, he released a report entitled “Our Teeming Shore” in which he detailed extensive research and public hearings that covered federal immigration policy and its impact on the City and State of New York.
As a result, New York was among the first states in the nation to document the impact of federal immigration policy at state and local levels, leading to the creation of the Senate Majority Task Force On Immigration.
A second report, issued a year later, confirmed Padavan’s findings as did his next report, “The Golden Door.” The third in this series of reports is “The Counterfeit Connection,” which details the counterfeit goods trade, intellectual property theft and terrorist financing.