Dear Rich: My cousin sells knockoffs from a famous fashion brand. She makes a quite a bit of money with this 'side busines's and she's offered to set me up. The initial investment is a few thousand dollars. I know it's illegal but what I'm trying to find out is the likelihood that I will get in trouble. What are the chances?
We can't tell you the chances for getting caught for selling counterfeit goods. That depends on luck, geography, your online presence, whether you have any acquaintances who have a reason to turn you in, whether your supplier gets busted and decides to flip you, or whether you fall for a sting operation. The sad part of the story -- from a business plan POV -- is that the more successful you become, the more likely you will become a target of all this mishigas. We get similar questions occasionally, so we've posted an article on the subject detailing the legal rules.