From my most recent copy of National Geographic Traveler (emphasis added):
Have you ever been tempted by fake Prada or Gucci handbags on the streets of Florence or Rome? You're not alone: A recent survey found that 69 percent of Americans see nothing wrong with buying counterfeit goods. But such purchases may cost much more than you bargained for.
Since last summer, tourists in Italy have been slapped with astoundingly high fines - more than $12,000 - if plainclothes police catch them buying fakes. One Danish woman vacationing on the Italian Riviera was hit with this fine after buying a pair of $12 copycat sunglasses. She ended up being charged a reduced amount - $4,050 - for paying the fine immediately.
To warn unsuspecting tourists about the new law, the city of Venice created an ad campaign called "BAD BAG" and erected kiosks with bold yellow-and-black multilingual posters. But vandals often dstroy the kiosks as quickly as they are put up and obliterate the posters, so many visitors have no idea about the potential risks of buying a fake.
France also increased penalties for buyers of knock-off luxury items last year to three times the retail price of the real thing. Buying or possessing imitation goods is punishable by fines of up to $365,000.
The European Union is under pressure to crack down on counterfeiting, and that may include more fines for consumers. Authorities stress that by buying ripoffs, travelers are supporting organized crime and child labor, undermining legitimate companies and costing workers their jobs.
At prices like these, you're better off buying the originals.