New laws in New York are looking to put a major dent in the booming business of selling fake handbags and even Rolex watches on Canal Street.
If a proposed bill passes the City Council anyone caught buying a bootleg can be fined up to $1,000 and sentenced to up to a year in prison.
Council member Margaret Chin, who introduced the bill, said at a public hearing Thursday that counterfeits deprive the city of at least $1 billion in tax revenue a year that could support community improvements.
Whats more, she says, the counterfeit trade has been linked to child labor and the funding of organized crime and terror groups. For tourists, its fun, its a bit of adventure, Chin says. We have to let people know that if you engage in this activity you are committing a crime.
Ashley Hunter, 30, of Kewshaw, S.C., shopping in the area, asks, How would I know I am not supposed to buy something, that there is a fine? Melissa Kirkpatrick, of Salt Lake City, Utah, was not too concerned about the legality of the items selling on Canal Street, where she was with her family. She was looking for a Rolex for a friend at home. If I can buy it for $50, I will, real or fake, she says.
If that seems harsh to you, consider that in France possessing a counterfeit item can result in up to 3 years in prison and up to a $478,000 fine. Now let us know your thoughts on this new legislation.
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