By Lenore Fedow
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at a hub in Louisville, Kentucky seized several large shipments of counterfeit jewelry in recent months. (Photo courtesy of U.S. CBP)
Louisville, Ky.—Since mid-July, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Express Consignment Operations hub in Louisville, Kentucky have seized counterfeit jewelry that would be worth $90 million if genuine.

According to a CBP statement Wednesday, officers seized three large shipments of counterfeit bracelets in July—in a picture provided by the CBP one of the seizures, the items look to be copies of Cartier’s iconic Love bracelet—totaling more than $42 million.

The goods were traced to a North Carolina church pastor, JianGang “Frank” Lan, who was found to have more than 3,200 fake Cartier bracelets.

North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall charged Lan with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark on Aug. 2, said CBP. He was being held under $25,000 bond in the Orange County Jail as of Wednesday.

“When purchasing items from a vendor over the internet if it seems like too good of a deal, it is,” Thomas Mahn Jr., Louisville port director, said in a statement. “A Cartier bracelet listed online for $25 is definitely not authentic.”

The next large find came in September, when officers seized five shipments of counterfeit jewelry, which would be worth more than $48 million if they were genuine, according to the agency.

Mahn noted that counterfeit jewelry is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials.

“These seizures protect the rights of the intellectual property rights holder, health and safety of Americans, and the reputation of online marketplaces involved in these transactions,” he said.

CBP’s Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program combats the importation of counterfeit merchandise, which the agency said is behind significant revenue loss, damage to the U.S. economy, and a threat to the public’s health and safety.

The agency said its officers seized $3.7 million in counterfeit goods per day in 2018.

CBP advised anyone with information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity to contact the agency via the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

IPR violations can be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center via its website or by calling 1-866-IPR-2060.

Get the Daily News >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.