A crime supermarket


Author: Carolina Vicentin

Source: Jornal do Brasil, 21/01/2008


Who has never been to a fair to throw the first stone. Few are those who do not allow themselves to be seduced by an attractive price or that discount of the sale without invoice. It is understandable: everyone wants to take advantage, have access to products that are new and often do not fit the budget. However, the purchase of a harmless moisturizer or a camera at popular fairs can be linked to crimes such as smuggling, tax evasion, foreign exchange evasion and even drug trafficking.

The problem with this type of trade begins with the relationship between marketers and the space they occupy. As it is a place provided by the government, the boxes should be for the exclusive use of people who have earned the right to be there. But, according to the delegate of the Federal District Crimes Against Tax Order (DOT), Kléber da Silva Júnior, many end up renting the bank to third parties.

- With this situation, most marketers do not register in the tax register. They change the owner of the box all the time, as a way of not collecting the ISS and ICMS, taxes that are levied on the sale of products - he details.

In 2007, DOT carried out three major operations at the fairs in Brasilia, in partnership with the Federal Revenue Service and the Fraud and Counterfeiting Police Station (DEF). Kléber estimates that around R $ 30 million worth of goods were seized without an invoice. The delegate, however, admits that fairs are spaces where the police have some difficulty in acting.

- It is a fenced arena, with a large circulation of people. Whenever there is an operation, marketers are able to mobilize XNUMX people in a second - he says.

Tip of the iceberg

DEF Chief Delegate Vera Lúcia da Silva says that the sale of counterfeit, evaded or contraband goods is only one aspect of the problem at the fairs. Vera Lúcia points out that the financial movement is very large and, contrary to what many think, it does not involve the work of humble people.

- There is no way to be a worker with no other alternative in life. Whoever gets involved in this scheme is taking risks, betting on piracy - he points out.

For the delegate, the justification that the marketer performs honest activity does not apply. Vera Lúcia believes that the demand for counterfeit products is very high and the repression is not enough to take care of all areas of commerce. It is even common for the population to revolt with the police during inspection and seizure operations.

- People need to realize that who is behind everything is not a regular businessman. Usually, they are dealers who want to diversify their investments. A suitable person will not take money out of savings to set up a CD and DVD counterfeiting laboratory - he exemplifies.

Without punishment

Another difficulty, explains Vera Lúcia, is keeping people who are arrested in jail. The police can only prosecute vendors for copyright infringement, a crime that carries a penalty of two to four years in prison. Sometimes the person involved could also be charged with a crime against trademark ownership. This offense, however, is only characterized if the victim company takes legal action. Brands like Puma, Nike and Louis Vitton have already filed a lawsuit.

According to the chief delegate of DEF, the problem of piracy will only be solved when the punishment is greater. But, for that, it is necessary to change the penal legislation

- Nobody stays in jail, nor murderer. The criminal, the first defendant, with a good lawyer, always gets a series of benefits - he added.