111319-2108p026-1b-100025867-origIn early February, Yasar Sattar shook hands with undercover detective Rod Jones and a private investigator for Epson, who were posing as potential ink buyers. All three men were inside a Brampton, Ontario, doughnut shop, and Sattar had just agreed to sell $30,000 (U.S.) worth of Epson and Hewlett-Packard ink jet and toner cartridges for a fraction of the normal price.

Jones and the Epson sleuth, who had pegged the cartridges as counterfeit after a lengthy joint investigation, hopped into an SUV and followed Sattar to a nondescript warehouse a mile away. There, Sattar swung open a metal door to reveal pallets of what looked like legitimate ink cartridges, packaged for sale.

“These fakes looked so real, I couldn’t believe my eyes,” recalls Jones, a member of the Brampton-based Peel Regional Police’s intelligence unit. Sattar handed Jones the invoice for the cartridges, assuring him that the ink was genuine. Backup officers then barged in and arrested Sattar, ending one of a growing number of worldwide sting operations against counterfeit-ink rings.

Growing Problem

In U.S. and Canadian stores and on a host of Web sites, counterfeit ink jet and laser toner cartridges packaged as the real thing are becoming as ubiquitous as bogus Rolex wristwatches and fake Prada handbags. Individuals and businesses that purchase these knockoffs to save a few bucks can wind up with substandard prints, leaky or exploding cartridges, and permanent damage to their printers.

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