May 8 was a busy night for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Louisville. CBP officers in Louisville seized three shipments containing various luxury items. From handbags, to jewelry, to Rolex watches, all were deemed to be inauthentic and bearing counterfeit marks, by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts.
CBP officers examined all three shipments to determine the admissibility of the goods and discovered they all contained inauthentic luxury items. The first shipment contained 1,438 necklaces bearing counterfeit Van Cleef & Arpels trademarks. The necklaces, arriving from Hong Kong and heading to a residence in Miami, would have been worth a total of $2.18 million, Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), had they been genuine.
CBP officers inspected a second parcel originating from Hong Kong and found 10 fake Rolex watches. This shipment was heading to a residence in Ontario, Canada. Had the watches been real, the MSRP would have been worth a total of $102,500.
The final package was also from Hong Kong and was headed to a P.O. Box in Laredo, Texas. Inside, officers found 14 fake Louis Vuitton handbags, and over 1,400 pairs of earrings bearing inauthentic logos representing Chanel, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., Versace, Tous, Tory Burch, and Disney brands. Officers also found over 200 necklaces bearing inauthentic logos representing Chanel, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton brands. The MSRP for this shipment would have been $812,510, had the goods been authentic.
“These types of seizures happen every night. Our officers are very well trained and vigilant in stopping these illegal shipments from reaching their destinations,” said LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “Whether it is Intellectual Property Right violations, narcotics, unapproved items or counterfeit products our officers will continue to protect our local communities and our ports of entry.”
The rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20% of the counterfeits illegally sold worldwide. Counterfeit costume jewelry bearing famous brands such as Chanel, have been found to contain lead and other toxic materials which are dangerous to human health.
“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director, Louisville. “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.”