Fake Goods = Real Terrorism

Money from the sale of counterfeit goods sometimes funds terror groups

By MARYCLAIRE DALE and Ed Dress
|  Wednesday, Jul 14, 2010  |  Updated 5:36 PM EDT
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Love that fake <a title=Louis Vuitton bag? Well it may do wonders for your wallet, but you could be helping to fund terror plots, says the FBI." />

NBC Philadelphia / Harry Hairston & Ed Dress

Love that fake Louis Vuitton bag? Well it may do wonders for your wallet, but you could be helping to fund terror plots, says the FBI.

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Want that trendy handbag or hot pair of sneakers, but don’t want to pay that hefty price tag that goes with it? Many don’t think twice about buying a knockoff or counterfeit from a flea market.  

Well, guess what, some of the money you’re spending may be going to terrorists! NBC Philadelphia’s Harry Hairston and the NBC10 Investigators first exposed this problem last  May.

Wednesday, two men were sentenced to prison for their roles in a counterfeit ring. Prosecutors said the ring was designed to finance the Iranian-backed group Hezbollah. Prosecutors admit neither defendant knew of the link to Hezbollah.

The feds classify Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

A U.S. judge has ordered Michael Katz, 68, of Plainsboro, N.J., to serve a year in prison and Alaa Allia Ahmed Mohamed, 43, of New York City to serve 18 months. Defense lawyers call their roles minimal. 

Katz said he only agreed to load the 1,500 supposed Nike sneakers into his van as a favor to someone he owed money. More serious charges are pending against other defendants, including Moussa Ali Hamdan of Brooklyn, N.Y., captured in Paraguay last month.

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