Seizure of Fake Rolexes Leads Authorities to $16M Counterfeit Goods Ring

CrimeFeb 15, 2022

Seizure of Fake Rolexes Leads Authorities to $16M Counterfeit Goods Ring

The trail led to a couple in Lawrenceville, Georgia, who were charged with possession and sale of goods bearing a counterfeit trademark.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Memphis, Tennessee found nearly 60 counterfeit Rolex watches, and later uncovered an inventory of counterfeit goods valued at more than $15.8 million.
Memphis, Tenn.—U.S. Customs and Border Protection Officers in Memphis seized a shipment of nearly 60 fake Rolex watches that eventually led authorities to a $16 million counterfeit goods business operating out of suburban Atlanta. 

According to a CBP press release, the case started last fall when customs officials decided to examine two shipments that had arrived in Memphis Sept. 28, originating from the Mexican state of Chihuahua and heading to a residence in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

Inside the packages, they found an assortment of fake Rolexes, including 19 Submariners, 15 Yacht-Masters, 10 Sky-Dwellers, 10 Datejust watches, three Daytonas, and two Rolex Oyster Perpetuals.

Customs officials also found five pairs of counterfeit Chanel sunglasses, two pairs of Versace sunglasses, and a Louis Vuitton duffle bag.

The second shipment contained 20 fake Louis Vuitton tote bags.

CBP said the counterfeit goods, which had an actual value of more than $1 million, were turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, a division of Immigrations & Customs Enforcement, which continued its coordinated efforts with officials in Gwinnett County, where Lawrenceville is located.

 Related stories will be right here … 

A three-month investigation led officials to a couple in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

On Nov. 18, the Gwinnett Police Department Special Investigation Section Vice Unit seized more than 9,000 counterfeit goods, valued at more than $15.8 million, from a business named Real Moda.

Officers found counterfeit items stored in multiple locations, including at Real Moda’s store, and advertised for sale on Facebook, according to CBP.

 The 31-year-old woman and the 33-year-old man, whose names were not provided, were arrested and charged with possession and sale of goods bearing a counterfeit trademark.

They were released on bond earlier this month.

“According to the arrested sellers, their customers knew they were buying counterfeits, which is maddening,” said Michael Neipert, Memphis Area Port Director.

“Why would you want to walk around with a fake $18 Louis Vuitton tote, $1,522 cheaper than an original? That’s uncouth. It diminishes the original product.”

The rise of e-commerce has given counterfeit goods more ways to reach U.S. consumers, said CBP.

Officials said they have seized more than 83,000 shipments for trade violations in the current fiscal year, with counterfeit watches and jewelry making up nearly half of the total retail value of seized goods.

Lenore Fedowis the associate editor, news at National Jeweler, covering the retail beat and the business side of jewelry.

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