Huntington Beach, CA... Cleveland Golf confirmed today that raids conducted on four separate locations by the Orange County Sheriff's Department on October 31, 2006 in south Orange County, California, resulted in two arrests and the confiscation of counterfeit golf clubs, golf balls and accessories with an estimated value of approximately $1,000,000.00. Acting on information and evidence provided by Cleveland Golf, Sheriff's deputies executed search warrants and conducted simultaneous raids at locations in and around the San Clemente area. Lead Investigator Brian Sims reported that "Operation Cleveland Golf" yielded more than 2,000 high-end counterfeit golf items marked with such brand names as Cleveland Golf, PING, Titleist, TaylorMade, Cobra, Callaway Golf, Nike, Mizuno and Yes Golf. It is believed the counterfeit golf equipment was smuggled into California from China.
Jason Hughes was arrested and charged on suspicion of felony possession and sale of counterfeit products. Bail was set at US$1,000,000.00. Sheriff's deputies also identified a warehouse worker as a suspected military deserter from nearby Camp Pendleton, and the suspect was returned and released into the custody of military officials.
"Sheriff's investigators became involved about two weeks prior to the raids, when we contacted them about Cleveland Golf clubs being sold on eBay, under various seller I.D.'s such as Great-Golf-Deals and Golf-Gear-USA, at prices well below market value", said Steve Gingrich, Vice President of Global Legal Enforcement. "The prompt action by Investigator Sims and other members of "Operation Cleveland Golf" are a tremendous example of what law enforcement can do. Counterfeiting is a very real problem and it is a crime. We hope that other local law enforcement agencies around the country note the success of this operation, and devote
resources to fighting these criminals," added Mr. Gingrich.
Six of the brand companies victimized by the San Clemente based counterfeiting operation are members of the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting Working Group which was formed a few years ago to petition U.S. and Chinese government agencies to combat counterfeit activity.