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US CBP Officers in Louisville Intercept 130 Designer Watches Worth $4.24 Million

One of the most common counterfeited items seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers are watches, and one of the main shipping hubs located in Louisville sees their fair share. In the month of July, CBP officers seized several shipments of counterfeit designer watches, if genuine, would have a Manufacturer’s Suggest Retail Price (MSRP) of over $4.24 million.

CBP officers in Louisville seized a total of nine shipments originating from Hong Kong containing 130 counterfeit watches. CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise determined all of the watches were counterfeit. The watches displayed logos belonging to Rolex, Omega, Patek Philippe, Hubolt, Cartier, Bvlgari, and Audemars Piguet.

Most of the shipment were heading to Florida and other locations, but all watches were seized for infringing on protected trademarks. CBP has the authority to prevent shipments of counterfeit goods from entering the country and considers the protection of intellectual property rights a Priority Trade Issue.  On a typical day in fiscal year 2022, CBP seized $8 million worth of products with Intellectual Property Rights violations. 

“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, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “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 illicit trafficking of counterfeit goods offers criminals a complementary source of income and a way through which they can launder money. Additionally, monies received from the sale of counterfeit products can be channeled towards the further production of fake goods or other illicit activities. Additionally, counterfeiting is a hugely profitable business, with criminals relying on the continued high demand for cheap goods coupled with low production costs.

Last fiscal year, counterfeit handbags/wallets, watches, and jewelry made up the top three seized counterfeit products by CBP based on the MSRP, respectively. Last fiscal year, CBP seized 153,810 counterfeit watches, if genuine, would have had a MSRP over $596 million.