Tupelo, MS (WTVA) — Attorney General Jim Hood today destroyed $750,000 worth of counterfeit goods and dispersed seized cash from a recently closed case to assisting law enforcement agencies.
The counterfeit items were destroyed today at the Tupelo Recycling Center.
“We often get asked why we can’t circulate these goods back into society to help clothe the homeless or provide shoes for orphaned children,” said Attorney General Hood. “It is something we wish we could do, however, we just cannot guarantee these products are safe because they have not been properly regulated. We cannot be certain that the dye in the clothing won’t cause a skin reaction or that wearing the shoes won’t result in deformed feet. These are extreme examples, of course, but these are risks we cannot take.”
The counterfeit goods, which included shirts, shoes, purses and a variety of CDs and DVDs, were confiscated after an operation by the Attorney General’s Intellectual Property Theft Task Force in Chickasaw County which resulted in two recent guilty pleas from the defendants, Willie McMillian and Sophia Hill McMillian.
Cash in the amount of $19,470.12 from the illegal operation was also seized and will be divided 50/50 between the Attorney General’s Office and the assisting agencies with jurisdiction, in this case the Okolona Police Department and the Chickasaw County Sheriff’s Office.
Attorney General Jim Hood today presented each agency with a check for $4,867.53.
A small amount of the Attorney General’s portion of the seized cash was used to pay for the destruction of the counterfeit items.
“We appreciate Chief Willie Moore and Sheriff Jimmy Simmons for working with us on this case through our Intellectual Property Theft Task Force,” said Attorney General Hood. “We are happy to split this forfeiture with these agencies, believing this is revenue initially lost in their jurisdictions through this illegal operation. We intend to use our half of the money to further our training, education and prosecution efforts concerning the theft of intellectual property rights.”
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office received a certificate of participation for their assistance via the North Mississippi Narcotics Unit.
This case is an ongoing effort of the Attorney General’s, known as Operation Knock Out Knock Offs, which established the statewide Intellectual Property Theft Task Force consisting of federal, state and local authorities.
Consumers can report the sale of suspected counterfeit goods via the Attorney General established and maintained Mississippi Intellectual Property Crime Center, http://mipcc.ago.state.ms.us
, or by calling the AG’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-281-4418.