Illicit market for counterfeit products at small businesses in Michigan

Sullivan, B. A., Wilson, J. M., & Militz, R. S. (2017). Illicit market for counterfeit products at small businesses in Michigan. American Behavioral Scientist, 61(11), 1289-1312. doi:10.1177/0002764217734268

Research on small businesses facilitating illicit markets and the efforts of nonfederal law enforcement agencies to identify these small business offenders has been scant. This exploratory study examines the illicit market for counterfeit products sold through small businesses in the State of Michigan. We used police incident reports of counterfeit products identified during administrative tobacco inspections of small businesses to provide a unique look at this crime problem and the efforts of law enforcement to curtail it. We analyzed the content of these incident reports to explore characteristics of the incidents, businesses and suspects selling counterfeit products, how the counterfeit products were identified and verified, and the origin of the counterfeits. Implications for law enforcement efforts to address counterfeit criminal enterprises and directions for future research are discussed.