Shoppers know a bargain when they see one. Many times they're aware that what they're buying are knockoffs. Counterfeiting is a booming business. LA's Santee Alley is known for bargains along with counterfeits and pirated movies and music. A new study indicates the costs of counterfeiting are staggering. Gallup found that counterfeiting and piracy cost LA firms $5.2 billion a year and are responsible for the loss of 106,000 jobs. Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said, "Anything that hurts our economy and costs us jobs is something that hurts us all." One in four people admit to buying counterfeits. Veronica admits her fake Coach purse is one of them. "I know its illegal like buying DVDs and movies, it's the same thing," Veronica said. It's extremely rare for arrests of anyone but the sellers. It is far more dangerous than purses, watches and clothing. That's surgical mesh used for things like stomach reconstruction. The mesh on the right is counterfeit. Counterfeit mesh has been used in surgery. That diabetes tester is the real thing. The one on the right is counterfeit and always gives a positive reading which could be disastrous to a diabetic. One of those apparently identical brake valves used on school buses is counterfeit and could easily fail. LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo told a conference on counterfeiting and piracy he may go after business owners in places like Santee Alley. Delgadillo said, "Many of the Santee building owners are benefiting from that counterfeit activity." According to the chamber of commerce counterfeiting and piracy have more economic impact on California and Los Angeles than any other place in the world.
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