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AG Continues War on Bogus Brands

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http://mipcc.ago.state.ms.us/,provides tips on how to spot counterfeit merchandise and what to do if you suspect merchandise is of questionable origin,” said Attorney General Jim Hood.  “The website also has a password protected zone specially designed for our law enforcement agencies.” The site can also be accessed through the Attorney General’s main website, www.agjimhood.com. The National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C), the premier DOJ-funded training project for high tech law enforcement methods, was instrumental in developing  this website and law enforcement database.  It is the first of its kind for a state attorney general’s office. “The NW3C has been a valuable training partner for our state’s task force,” said Attorney General Hood.  In fact, the NW3C provided counterfeit prevention training at the Attorney General’s recent law enforcement conference in Jackson.  Additionally, Attorney General Hood has been elected to the board of NW3C, and is co-chair of the Intellectual Property Committee  of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).  He was also recently appointed co-chair of the NAAG Tech Committee, which addresses all technology issues from text/sexting on cell phones to cyberbullying to social networking abuses to all cybercrime. Intellectual property crime hurts the economy by cheating legitimate retailers out of business and depriving local government of valuable sales taxes. It also poses health hazards in the case of “knock-off” medication and food items, which do not meet federal health standards and may contain dangerous ingredients or be produced under unsanitary conditions. Furthermore, revenue generated by counterfeit products often divert money to organized crime, terrorist activity and drug traffickers. The Mississippi Attorney General’s office received a $200,000 federal grant from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Justice Programs in 2009 to help establish the AGO’s Intellectual Property Theft Task Force. The money also funded the AGO’s anti-counterfeit campaign, Operation Knock Out Knock-Offs (K.O.K.O.). The AGO received additional funding in 2010 to establish the MIPCC.  The federal grant also funds statewide law enforcement training courses to help local, state and federal task force members spot fraudulent brand-name items and prosecute offenders. Recently, AGO officials held the annual Intellectual Property Theft Task Force conference at the Pearl Community Center.  The conference included additional training for current task force members and provided an overview of Operation K.O.K.O. to new members. The event was also attended by a few national and international organizations. Attorney General Jim Hood will be continuing the agency’s K.O.K.O. program this year by hosting law enforcement education sessions this fall and aggressively pursuing suspects who transport and distribute counterfeit goods. The AGO will also continue to maintain the Mississippi Intellectual Property Crime Center, and offer to local law enforcement storage and transportation service for suspect goods.]]]]> ]]>

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