A consortium of researchers dedicated to improving the understanding of the human causes and consequences of terrorism

The nexus between terrorism and product counterfeiting in the United States


Terrorists use a wide variety of methods to fund their operations, obtain profits and carry out ideologically driven goals. Terrorist organisations have increasingly been linked to product counterfeiting crimes, but evidence for this connection is mostly anecdotal and speculative, lacking systematic empirical evaluation. This study mines open-source data to capture known product counterfeiting schemes linked to known extremists in the United States since 1990. We utilise the Extremist Financial Crime Database (EFCDB) and the Michigan State University Center for Anti-Counterfeiting and Product Protection's (A-CAPP) Incident Database to provide an overview of both the schemes and the individual suspects involved in these crimes. We uncovered ten product counterfeiting schemes linked to terrorism, while the vast majority of suspects involved are non-extremist collaborators motivated by profit, not extremist ideology. These findings indicate the need for policies focusing on criminal networks broadly, expanding beyond restrictive efforts only targeting terrorists.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Brandon A. Sullivan, and Steven M. Chermak, Joshua D. Freilich, Jeremy M. Wilson. 2014. The nexus between terrorism and product counterfeiting in the United States. Global Crime (May).  http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/17440572.2014.919227#.U9-MJuNdUZm

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