Customs Seizes Nearly $9M in Counterfeit Jewelry
Officials in Cincinnati and Indianapolis intercepted four shipments of fakes from Dec. 24 to Jan. 5.
The first of four shipments was stopped by customs officers in Cincinnati on Christmas Eve and contained 13,467 pieces of counterfeit designer jewelry.
The pieces were said to be from luxury brands like Bulgari, Cartier, Coach, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors, Rolex, Tiffany, Tori Burch, and Versace.
If genuine, the shipment, which originated from China, would be worth more than $3.7 million.
On Jan. 4, officers in Indianapolis seized a shipment containing 1,272 pieces of counterfeit jewelry, valued at more than $2 million if genuine.
The next day, the Indianapolis officers stopped two more shipments.
One contained 278 counterfeit Cartier and Hermès bracelets, worth nearly $2 million if genuine.
The other contained 1,680 fakes said to be from Chanel, Dior, Pandora, Prada, and Tiffany & Co., worth nearly $900,000 if they were real.
The four shipments, worth a total of $8.7 million if genuine, were on their way to private residences in Laredo, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; and White Plains, New York.
“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of field operations in Chicago, in a press release about the seizures.
“As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”
The rise of e-commerce has given counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to reach consumers, CBP said.
It estimated U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion each year on goods that infringe upon intellectual property rights, accounting for 20 percent of the counterfeit goods sold illegally worldwide.
“Legitimate trade strengthens our economy, but counterfeit and pirated goods threaten American jobs and innovation,” said Indianapolis Acting Port Director Timothy Hubbard.
Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie said, “Protecting intellectual property rights remains a priority trade issue for CBP and our officers are committed to American consumers and our economic security.”
CBP has an educational initiative available online for consumers about the dangers surrounding counterfeit goods.
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