The Virginia State Police on Oct. 3 was awarded a $217,971 grant from the U.S. Department of Justice that will go toward fighting the purchase and sale of counterfeit and pirated products.
The announcement, made by U.S. Attorney General Eric Cantor and Deputy Attorney General James Cole, included money for not only for Virginia but a total of $2.4 million in grants to 13 jurisdictions in the country to combat the problem.
Those other jurisdictions included departments in Texas, Maryland, California, Oregon, Florida, Illinois, New York and Missouri.
Intellectual property theft, the violation of laws that protect copyrights, patents, trademarks and other forms of intellectual property and trade secrets can destroy jobs and suppress innovation in the United States, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
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 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,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a prepared statement. “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.”
In awarding the money to the Virginia State Police, the goal of is to identify and charge people 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: overtime resources for eight special agents to enable them to collect sufficient and credible evidence for prosecution and adequate training to special agents to increase their knowledge and abilities in the area of IP theft investigation. The money will also assist in buying equipment for surveillance and evidence collection. VSP will coordinate this project with federal agencies.
In the past three years, the department’s Bureau of Justice Assistance has awarded more than $10 million in grants to 34 law enforcement agencies to tackle the problem. BJA has awarded a total of $13.4 million in grants to fight IP theft.
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