This week, a case that one of our member’s has been working on intensely over the last few months came to a dramatic conclusion as 2 people in Northern Ireland were arrested as part of an investigation into counterfeit car products.
WR Investigations joined ICE a month after we opened in 2012 and have decades of experience in protecting global brands, with this project in partnership with BMW Group relating to the sale and distribution of items such as key fobs, badges and wheel caps. The availability of these wheel caps, for example, could enable criminals to re-badge sub-standard merchandise and resell it with the claim that it is genuine. When tested, these counterfeits are often brittle, untested and of lighter weight or substandard materials which are not up to the job and present a huge risk to drivers who have purchased them unwittingly believing they have had a good deal.
The case received a lot of press coverage from UTV and BBC News, as assets worth more than £1million were seized as part of the searches, including high-end sports cars.
Detective Inspector Todd Clements, from Organised Crime Branch, said that searches were carried out following a complaint from BMW.
“Officers have seized a significant amount of what we believe are counterfeit car products being sold online in a business with a substantial turnover.
“As part of our restraint operation we have seized two high value cars belonging to the man and woman. We are also in the process of obtaining restraint orders on a house in the Galgorm area of Ballymena and two properties in Portstewart and a number of bank accounts.”
He continued: “Police are committed to working with industry and the Organised Crime Task Force to ensure producers, workers and the public are protected from fraudsters.
“I would urge anyone with information about the manufacture, distribution or sale of any counterfeit product to contact police on the non emergency number 101.”