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U.S. Attorney MacBride Announces Nearly $215,000 in Grants to Combat Intellectual Property Theft in Virginia

Grant Announcement Part of $2.4 Million in Grants to Jurisdictions across the Country

Counterfeit Goods Put U.S. Jobs, Economy and People’s Health in Danger

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 3, 2012

ALEXANDRIA, Va. – U.S. Attorney Neil H. MacBride of the Eastern District of Virginia announced today that the Department of Justice has awarded the Virginia State Police $214,971 in grant money to combat the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products.

Today’s announcement is part of a broader national announcement by Attorney General Eric Holder and Deputy Attorney General James Cole of more than $2.4 million in grants to 13 jurisdictions around the country to combat this problem. Intellectual Property (IP) theft refers to the violation of criminal laws that protect copyrights, patents, trademarks, other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets, both in the United States and abroad. IP crimes can destroy jobs and suppress innovation in the United States. Faulty products and improperly prepared counterfeit drugs can jeopardize the health and safety of consumers. In some cases, these activities are used to fund dangerous or even violent criminal enterprises and organized crime networks.

“IP theft is not a victimless crime. It can devastate lives and businesses as well as undermine our nation’s financial stability, jeopardize the health of our citizens, and even threaten our national security,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “That's why the Justice Department is fighting back with these new investments to prevent and combat IP theft by enabling some of our key state and local partners to build on their records of success.”

The Virginia State Police (VSP) has been awarded $214,971 in support of its initiative to detect and prevent IP crimes that share a nexus with terrorist organizations and organized crime networks in the Commonwealth of Virginia.  The goal of this project is to identify and charge subjects who violate the Code of Virginia in relation to trademark and service mark infringement, counterfeit merchandise sales, money laundering, structuring and other related laws.  The strategies that will be used to accomplish this include the provision of:  (1) overtime resources for eight special agents to enable them to collect sufficient and credible evidence for prosecution; (2) adequate training to the special agents so that they can increase their knowledge and abilities in the area of IP theft investigation; and (3) appropriate equipment to assist them in surveillance and evidence collection.  VSP will coordinate this project with federal agencies, Commonwealth’s Attorneys, U.S. Attorneys, and local governments as necessary to ensure the success of this project.

“This funding will help expand our partnership with Virginia State Police and other law enforcement in Virginia to combat criminal organizations who use IP theft to threaten our security,” said U.S. Attorney MacBride.

These grants are provided through the department’s BJA, and will assist 13 jurisdictions in enforcing criminal laws related to IP theft, through improving their ability to enforce, investigate, prosecute and implement prevention initiatives that address IP crimes. The grants include providing reimbursement of expenses incurred in performing criminal enforcement operations, such as overtime payments, storage fees for seized evidence, training and technical assistance.

“Preventing and combating intellectual property crimes constitutes a top priority for our nation’s Department of Justice,” said Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole. “With the grants we announce today, we make good on our firm commitment to work closely with a variety of federal, state, local, and international partners to more effectively fight IP crime, provide direct support to critical law enforcement allies, and strengthen our ability to protect American innovation.”

Other jurisdictions receiving grants today include: Austin, Texas; Baltimore, Md. County Police Department; the California Department of Justice; Central Point, Ore.; Cook County, Ill.; Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office; New York County District Attorney’s Office; Orlando, Fla.; Riverside County, Calif.; Sacramento County, Calif.; San Antonio; and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

The Justice Department, through the Deputy Attorney General’s IP Task Force, has made preventing IP theft a top priority. In the past three years, the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded $10,108,800 in grants to 34 law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem. BJA has awarded a total of $13,383,002 in grants to fight IP theft.

The Justice Department is also working with the National White Collar Crime Center and the National Association of Attorneys General to provide training and technical assistance to law enforcement on the topic of IP crime investigation. In addition, the department has partnered with the National Crime Prevention Council to educate American consumers about the dangers of purchasing and using counterfeit goods. For more information on the NCPC’s efforts on this issue, please visit: www.ncpc.org/topics/intellectual-property-theft.

For more information on the jurisdictions receiving grants, please visit: www.ojp.gov/funding/funding.htm.

For more information on the DOJ’s Bureau of Justice Assistance, please visit: www.bja.gov.

For more information on the Justice Department’s continuing efforts to stop IP theft, please visit: www.justice.gov/dag/iptaskforce.

 

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