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All-Star effort aims to stop counterfeiting

All-Star effort aims to stop counterfeiting

ANAHEIM -- Major League Baseball, the Angels, the Anaheim Police Department and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies announced Wednesday that they are collaborating on an anti-counterfeiting task force to crack down on the production and sale of counterfeit merchandise and tickets during the 2010 MLB All-Star Week in Anaheim.

"Our No. 1 goal is to protect the baseball fans purchasing tickets and souvenirs throughout All-Star Week," said Ethan Orlinsky, senior vice president and general counsel for MLB Properties. "The anti-counterfeiting task force is designed to ensure our fans have the best experience possible, while also punishing counterfeiters to the fullest extent of the law."

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Joining Orlinsky in making the announcement at Angel Stadium were Earnell Lucas, MLB's vice president of security and facilities management, Anaheim Police Chief John Welter and Angels chairman Dennis Kuhl.

MLB, the Angels and the city of Anaheim made it clear that counterfeiting and selling without the requisite licenses or permits is a crime under federal, state and/or local laws.

"The preparation and planning of an event like this is something we take very seriously here at Major League Baseball," Lucas said. "It would not be possible without the support of one of the finest law enforcement agencies in all of the country here in Anaheim."

Law enforcement officials will be aggressively enforcing those laws during MLB All-Star Week in order to protect consumers from purchasing substandard products as well as to protect legitimate manufacturers and vendors who invest money and other resources to provide consumers with high quality, licensed products.

Undercover investigators will be on the lookout for counterfeit merchandise and tickets throughout Anaheim during MLB All-Star Week, including in and around Angel Stadium and Anaheim Convention Center, which serves as the home of All-Star FanFest, as well as at manufacturing facilities, stores and sidewalk vendor locations.

Fans can do their part when purchasing merchandise by looking for the hologram sticker or holographic tag and a sewn-in label or screen-printed notice identifying a licensee that has been authorized by Major League Baseball Properties to produce official licensed merchandise. They should also purchase any merchandise at MLB-authorized retail locations, such as the Official Angels Team Store and MLB.com, instead of buying items from itinerant street vendors, flea markets or other questionable sources.

Anyone found guilty of producing, distributing, offering for sale or selling counterfeit merchandise could face fines of up to $2 million and/or imprisonment for up to 10 years under federal, state and local laws. Additionally, law enforcement will target the sale of counterfeit tickets, the penalty for which, if convicted, is a maximum sentence of three years in prison and/or fines of up to $250,000.

"The legislatures have done their part and passed the laws," Orlinsky said. "And so we together with the police department, the code enforcement officials and, if necessary, the federal officials, we will investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law. We ramp up our efforts this week."

It's all part of making All-Star Week a safe and enjoyable time for everyone involved, whether it's at FanFest, Taco Bell All-Star Sunday, the State Farm Home Run Derby on Monday or the 81st MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday.

"We're looking forward to a safe and profitable event for the entire Orange County area," Welter said. "We're excited to host the event. Our goal is to have safe environment for everyone who attends the activities during the week."

Rhett Bollinger is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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