FOX 11 investigates: L.A. retailer accused of selling counterfeit brand name merchandise
LOS ANGELES, Calif. (FOX 11) - A months-long undercover investigation by FOX 11 has revealed that a popular Los Angeles clothing store has been selling counterfeit brand name merchandise under the guise that it is legitimate.
The store in question is called Old School, located at 427 N. Fairfax in L.A.’s popular Fairfax district, and the owners now have felony warrants out for their arrests.
It’s known for selling high price, high fashion designer streetwear, including popular brands like Amiri, Chanel, Gucci, Saint Laurent, but customers FOX 11 spoke with say there’s a major catch.
“I bought a $500 jacket from Old School and it turned out to be fake,” said Paul Fuentabella, who runs a popular streetwear YouTube channel. “Countless people have been ripped off, not just myself, everything in there is fake.”
Old School has a F rating with the Better Business Bureau with numerous complaints about sales of fake merchandise.
Its Yelp reviews are more of the same. Dozens of customers have left angry complaints about purchasing fake merchandise they were led to believe was legitimate.
FOX 11’s undercover team found Old School selling counterfeit Mike Amiri MX-1 jeans for $595, which is about half off of retail price for the legitimate jeans.
An attorney representing Amiri told FOX 11 the jeans at Old School are blatant fakes, and not allowed to be sold there.
“About six months ago, we discovered that the company Old School had been selling counterfeit merchandise that was manufactured by our client”, said Sasha Frid of Miller Barondess LLP.
Last year, they sued Old School in federal court for trademark infringement and counterfeiting.
“They were selling knockoffs, fake merchandise, specifically our client’s jeans the Amiri MX1,” Frid said. “They admitted to counterfeiting, they returned a bunch of their fakes from the warehouse, it was manufactured in China somewhere.”
A legal document obtained by FOX 11 shows that Old School paid a cash settlement in the case, and signed an agreement stating they would never sell counterfeit jeans with the Amiri trademark again.
That agreement was signed in June 2017, but FOX 11’s undercover cameras reveal that Old School is back at it again, and Frid was shocked when we showed him the video.
“Wow, you guys got them dead to rights,” he said. “Just a blatant forgery, were’ gonna have to do something about it and take them down.”
Old School has also attracted the attention of law enforcement.
In May of 2017, The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department raided the business after deputies made several undercover purchases of counterfeit goods.
According to search warrants obtained by FOX 11, LASD recovered more than 1,500 brand name items with a retail value of more than $1,000,000.
“In that store, we recovered a lot of counterfeit property, there were a lot of high end brands that were there,” said deputy James Crawford with LASD’s Counterfeit and Piracy Enforcement team. “There is just so much counterfeiting out there and we’re only a 5 man team at this time, and it’s very difficult cause that’s all we are for all of LA county. We have two ports here that are very large, there’s over 30,000 containers coming in each day and we don’t have a lot of resources to search every container.”
More search warrants reveal that LAPD raided Old School on November 17, 2017, recovering hundreds of counterfeit items from brands like Gucci, Chanel, Saint Lauraunt, and Versace.
“Honestly, Old School is an absolute joke,” said Fuentabella, a popular streetwear vlogger who has tens of thousands of followers on his YouTube channel.
One of his most viewed videos comes from inside of Old School when he bought a Fear of God bomber jacket for $500, a deal he thought sounded too good to be true, and now he’s convinced the jacket is a phony. He showed it to FOX 11 and explained.
“The first thing that pops out to me is the tag says third collection, this specific jacket is a fourth collection piece,” he said.
He said the font is too thick for authentic Fear of God, and the stitching is off, and the zippers aren’t legitimate.
“It’s a piece of trash equivalent of something you could buy for 20 bucks at a fast fashion place,” he said.
FOX 11 wanted to give Old School a chance to respond to the allegations, so we stopped by to speak with the owner, a man named Alex Eshaghian.
Our crew was confronted by a confrontational security guard who claimed that Alex wasn’t at the store, but as he said that, Alex walked into view of our cameras, noticed us, put his hood on, and walked out of the back of the store.
Store employees then shut down Old School for the evening.
Several weeks later, our investigative team went back with security to show Old School’s neighboring businesses the search warrants detailing allegations of the fake merchandise.
“Damn that’s crazy,” said Mike the Barber of Legends the Barber. “I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt, maybe it was just a mishap, but I’m sure they’ll get to the bottom of it, but our haircuts are not fake.”
The same security guard from Old School saw our cameras and approached our team again, but this time, another man who seemed to know the guard got involved, and ripped the microphone out of a FOX 11 producer’s hands before security intervened.
Nobody was hurt and the situation settled down, but it was a bizarre ending to a FOX 11 investigation into a business accused of blatantly ripping people off.
“We will go after them until they’re stopped, or they’re in jail,” said deputy Crawford.
FOX 11 has learned that the owners of Old School, Alex and Farhad Eshaghian, are now both wanted men.
LASD has filed felony arrest warrants that have been signed off by the DA’s office, charging both men with felony counterfeiting.
Once they are taken into custody, they will face up to three years in prison, if convicted.
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