Customs and TradeNews

$81 Million in Fake Watches Intercepted by Louisville CBP in 6 Months

Cheap, gaudy, and worthless is how you can characterize the more than 3,200 counterfeit designer watches U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville have seized since October 1 through March.

The 3,229 counterfeit watches bore the names of Rolex, Audemar Piguet, Cartier, Gucci, and the ever- popular Richard Mille trademarked logos. The shipments were mostly from China and were destined for addresses all over the U.S. Had these watches been real the Manufacturer’s Retailed Price would have been north of $81.5 million.

“Legitimate cross-border trade powers the U.S. economy,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “As trade grows at unprecedented rates, our officers are working hard to identify threats and shut down illicit suppliers.”

E-Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value, small packages being imported into the United States. Over 90 percent of all counterfeit seizures occur in the international mail and express environments which are channels that small, e-commerce packages destined for U.S. addresses travel through. Many of these shipments contain counterfeit goods that pose the same health, safety, and economic security risks as large, containerized shipments.  Make sure to shop from reputable sources online. To learn more about CBP’s E-Commerce strategy, visit CBP’s E-Commerce website.

“Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for an unusually low price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “Our officers are dedicated to preventing counterfeiters from defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.”

Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime. Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard and potentially dangerous.