INDIANAPOLIS— Last night, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis seized two shipments containing 362 counterfeit designer watches. The items were deemed to be counterfeit by CBP’s Centers of Excellence and Expertise, the agency’s trade experts, and if genuine, would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) over $2 million.
Both the shipments were arriving from China. When CBP officers examined the shipment to determine the admissibility of the goods, they found 362 watches displaying the logos of Rolex, Michael Kors, Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Gucci, and Pandora. The items were poorly packaged and constructed, and were missing serial numbers, among other noted inconsistencies from genuine products. CBP officers seized the watches for infringing on the designer’s protected trademarks. The shipment was heading to a residence in Mesquite, Texas, and had the watches been genuine, the MSRP would have been over $2.43 million.
“Seizures, like these, will ensure inferior, often dangerous goods, do not fall into the hands of everyday Americans,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago Field Office. “Counterfeit jewelry is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials unbeknownst to the buyer. These seizures protect the rights of the intellectual property rights holder, the health and safety of Americans, and the reputation of online marketplaces involved in these transactions.”
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.
Nationwide during Fiscal Year 2022, CBP seized over 24.5 million shipments of Intellectual Property Rights violations which would have been worth just shy of $3 billion, had the goods been genuine. CBP protects citizens from unsafe and substandard products by seizing merchandise infringing on trademarks and copyrights recorded with CBP through the e-Recordation program https://iprr.cbp.gov/s/. CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found at https://www.cbp.gov/FakeGoodsRealDangers.
CBP encourages anyone with information about counterfeit merchandise illegally imported into the United States to submit an e-Allegation. The e-Allegation system provides a means for the public to anonymously report to CBP any suspected violations of trade laws or regulations related to the importation of goods in the U.S.
CBP’s border security mission is led at 328 ports of entry by CBP officers from the Office of Field Operations. Please visit CBP Ports of Entry to learn more about how CBP’s Office of Field Operations secures our nation’s borders. Learn more about CBP at www.CBP.gov.