Phoenix Woman Charged with Possessing Counterfeit Marks & Operating an Illegal Enterprise
As a Phoenix Police sergeant was patrolling a Maryvale neighborhood, he came across what appeared to be a designer fashion outlet in the driveway of Maritza Garcia Orozco’s home near 59th Avenue and the 1-10.
The sergeant sent an undercover officer in to make a purchase from Orozco, which led to police obtaining a search warrant for the home. Officers discovered that Orozco was in fact operating “Maritza’s Fashion" out of her Phoenix residence.
Though Orozco claimed she was making $3,000 a week from her business, authorities believe she brought in a much higher profit considering the 1,714 items found in the house. Her inventory included fake items masked in Gucci, Michael Kors, Coach, and Burberry brand designs.
Operating an Illegal Enterprise in Phoenix, AZ
Orozco was arrested and charged with operating an illegal enterprise and possessing counterfeit marks.
In Arizona, an individual is guilty of controlling an illegal enterprise if they, through racketeering or its proceeds, maintain or acquire control of any enterprise.
Additionally, if an individual is employed by or associated with any enterprise and conducts the business’ affairs through racketeering and knows that the business is being conducted through racketeering, such person can be charged with illegally conducting an enterprise in Arizona.
Illegally controlling or conducting an illegal enterprise is typically charged as a class 3 felony in AZ.
Racketeering is generally defined as extorting or obtaining money illegally or carrying on illegal business activities.
Possessing Counterfeit Marks in Phoenix, AZ
According to A.R.S. 44-1453, a person who knowingly and with intent to sell or distribute displays, offers for sale, distributes, advertises, or possesses any item that bears a counterfeit mark or any service that is identified by a counterfeit mark is guilty of a class 1 misdemeanor in Arizona.
However, if any of the following apply, the charge can be increased to a class 5 felony:
- The accused has 2 prior convictions involving counterfeit marks.
- The violation involves at least 1,000 items that bear a counterfeit mark.
- The total retail value of all services or items that bear or are identified by the counterfeit mark is at least $10,000.
Orozco and two of her employees were charged with possessing counterfeit marks, and considering how many items were found in the home, they will likely be charged with class 5 felonies.
Though selling or possessing counterfeit handbags may not seem like a very severe offense, it is taken very seriously by law enforcement in Arizona as it results in the loss of tax dollars.