Proving that just about anything can be copied these days, a counterfeit ring dealing in the production of fake engine oil was running rampant in Moscow until it was busted by Russian police. Numerous reports say that two young entrepreneurs were the brains behind the large-scale counterfeit scheme. The modus of the ring entered on producing counterfeit engine oil and packaging it in plastic containers used by popular brands like Shell, Total, Mobil, Elf, and Castrol, among others. The extent of the operation even involved the production of OEM engine oil from automakers like Ford, General Motors, Toyota, Nissan, Mazda, Volkswagen and BMW.

According to the same reports, the shadiness of the entire operation stretched all the way to Belarus where the people running the illegal outfit would acquire oil canisters that would then be processed in abandoned factories in Moscow. Once the fake oil is created, gallons upon gallons of it would be poured into plastic cans that resemble those of a specific brand. These cans would then be labelled according to the brand. Photos taken after a raid of one of the abandoned warehouses revealed products like Total Quartz 7000, Ford Formula F, and Shell Helix HX7. All these products came in their traditional packaging and the crooks behind the ring even went as far as creating caps and cases that also resembled the real things, making it difficult for like-minded folks like you and me to tell the difference.

The products were then sold all over Moscow, including in auto parts shows and events. It got so profitable for the masterminds that, according to Russia’s Ministry Department for Economic Crimes and Corruption, the business was raking in excess of $164 million a year.

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Why it matters

It’s always nice to see criminals get their comeuppance, so I’m happy that this counterfeit engine oil ring has been busted. It’s an absolute shame that people would resort to doing things like this for the sake of power and money. It’s even more shameful when you consider that the people behind this ring took advantage of the plight of illegal immigrants to lower production costs. Not only were these workers paid next to nothing, they were also reportedly housed in factories with awful living conditions. There’s no place in this world for people like that, so I’m happy that they’re going to pay for their crimes.

What I’m not happy about is the sad reality that even if this operation has been busted, there’s still a network of counterfeit rings that are still active in other parts of the world, including Russia. It doesn’t have to be fake engine oil. It could be sneakers, mobile phones, remote controls, or even toys. The counterfeit business isn’t going to go anytime soon and a lot of people will continue to be duped out of their money if they’re not extra careful about the items they buy.

In the case of folks in the industry, here’s my advice: the best way for you to ensure that the parts and supplies you get for your cars come from authorized dealers or better, yet, from the manufacturer itself. Don’t take any shortcuts, because if you do, your car might be the one that pays for it.

Source: Automotorblog

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