Counterfeit watches seized by customs in Louisville

Published 5:42 pm Monday, June 6, 2022

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Kentucky Today

U. S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Louisville seized a parcel containing counterfeit designers watches that, if real, would have had a manufacturer’s retail price of over $22.5 million.

The 584 counterfeit watches bore two trademarked logos: Rolex and Cartier. The shipment was arriving from an individual in Hong Kong and was destined for a resident in Jamaica, New York.

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“Intellectual property theft threatens America’s economic vitality and funds criminal activities and organized crime,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office, which oversees Louisville. “Our officers are dedicated to protecting private industry and consumers by removing these kinds of shipments from our commerce.”

E-Commerce sales have contributed to large volumes of low-value, small packages being imported into the United States. During the last four fiscal years, seized counterfeit watches have been worth the most according to their MSRP- last year that total was $1.18 billion.  Consumers should always make sure they shop from reputable sources online.

“Consumers are always looking for the best deal, the unfortunate part is criminals are also online pedaling their counterfeit products,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville.  “Our CBP officers will continue to seize counterfeit items that threaten the safety and health of consumers and weaken the U.S. economy.”

This seizure was just one of many that happened the night of June 2, according to the CBP.  Another parcel contained six counterfeit Richard Millie watches that would have been worth $755,000 had they been genuine.

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.

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods threatens America’s innovation, the competitiveness of our businesses, the livelihoods of U.S. workers and, in some cases, the health and safety of consumers and U.S. national security.  The CBP says they are on the frontline of Intellectual Property Rights enforcement, partnering with industry, other federal agencies, and foreign governments to fight cross-border trade of harmful and dangerous illicit goods.

The CBP conducts operations at ports of entry throughout the United States, and regularly screens arriving international passengers and cargo for narcotics, weapons, and other restricted or prohibited products. CBP strives to serve as the premier law enforcement agency enhancing the Nation’s safety, security, and prosperity through collaboration, innovation, and integration.