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Lexmark Continues to Face Issues with Counterfeiters

29 Mar, 2005

Lexmark Continues to Face Issues with Counterfeiters

Lexmark International, Inc. is continuing its campaign against counterfeit consumable supplies and packaging by supporting the efforts of law enforcement officers in the pursuit of those suspected of marketing counterfeit Lexmark toner cartridges.

Undercover raids in three states resulted in the recent arrest of one individual, David Carl Lasota, and led to the issuance of an arrest warrant for Joseph Lamar Johnson. Based on records seized in this multi-state investigation, more than 13,000 counterfeit Lexmark toner cartridge boxes were fraudulently marketed.

Working with Lexmark and Stumar Investigations, the Allegheny County Police Department in Pennsylvania, the Clifton, New Jersey Police Department, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and the United States Postal Inspection Service issued multiple search warrants in an effort to stop the sale of these counterfeit toner cartridges.

As a result of these efforts, the United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida (based in Jacksonville) presented investigative findings to a federal grand jury that issued indictments against Lasota and Johnson for conspiracy to traffic in counterfeit goods or services. Lasota was also charged with the additional federal offense of trafficking in counterfeit goods or services. Trafficking in counterfeit goods carries a maximum sentence of 10 years. Officers also seized business records and the artwork and printing plates used to make counterfeit cartons.

Protecting customers

This multi-state investigation continues efforts by Lexmark over the past several years to preserve the quality of the printing experience involving genuine, Lexmark-branded equipment.

Worldwide distribution operations of counterfeit consumable supplies, such as toner and inkjet cartridges, are estimated at more than $1 billion annually. Customers using counterfeit supplies products risk poorer equipment performance, low supply yields, inferior print quality, toner leakage, high cartridge failure rates and increased equipment downtime – all of which cost the customer time and money.

"Lexmark is dedicated to ensuring customer value through ongoing efforts to identify, investigate and prosecute counterfeit operations," said Paul Rooke, Lexmark vice president and president of its Printing Solutions and Services Division. "Lexmark has zero tolerance for counterfeiting because we want to ensure that when a customer purchases Lexmark they know they are getting a genuine Lexmark product.”

Helping customers identify counterfeits

Lexmark is a founding member of the Imaging Supplies Coalition (ISC), which has launched a consumer-education initiative called "When in doubt, check it out." To protect customers from being victimized, this program allows those who question product quality or authenticity to submit products anonymously to the ISC to determine if the supplies are counterfeit. Since the inception of the program, the ISC says counterfeit awareness has increased significantly among distribution channels. Both distributors and consumers check the ISC Web site (http://www.isc-inc.org/) for further information on supplies fraud.

"Lexmark continues to display leadership and commitment in the fight against counterfeit supplies and packaging," said Bill Duffy, ISC’s president and CEO. "This latest series of raids shows Lexmark's determination to protect customers’ interests by defending its brand and intellectual properties."

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