Customs officers seize $57 million in counterfeit designer watches
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WTVQ/Press Release) – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to the Port of Louisville seized 32 separate shipments containing counterfeit designer watches worth $57.84 million.
CBP officers inspected all these parcels to determine if the goods were admissible in accordance with CBP regulations.
The officers found a total of 2,168 designer watches determined to be counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at the Centers of Excellence and Expertise. All the watches originated from Hong Kong and were destined for several addresses across the U.S.
Two of the more notable seizures were destined for the same business in Flushing, New York.
The first shipment contained 958 counterfeit Rolex watches that would have been worth $8.4 million, while the second shipment contained 1,000 more counterfeit Rolex watches that could have been worth $40.6 million.
Other seizures included 4 counterfeit Richard Mille watches that, if they were real, would have been worth $766,000 and another shipment contained 93 various counterfeit designer watches worth $3 million.
Historically, counterfeit watches and jewelry have been one of the top seized counterfeit products by CBP, with more than a quarter of the counterfeit goods coming from Hong Kong. Counterfeit watches and jewelry make up almost half of the total MSRP of seized goods, an average of $650 million over the last two years.
“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 LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago. “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.
CBP Trade protects the intellectual property rights of American businesses through an aggressive Intellectual Property Rights enforcement program, safeguarding them from unfair competition and use for malicious intent while upholding American innovation and ingenuity. Suspected violations can be reported to CBP here.
Every year, CBP seizes millions of counterfeit goods from countries around the world as part of its mission to protect U.S. businesses and consumers. These goods include fake versions of popular products, such as smartphones and related accessories, electronics, apparel, shoes, cosmetics, and high-end luxury goods, as well as goods posing significant health and safety concerns, such as counterfeit pharmaceuticals, bicycle and motorcycle helmets, medical devices, supplements and other consumables.
Sold online and in stores, counterfeit goods hurt the U.S. economy, cost Americans their jobs, threaten consumer health and safety, and fund criminal activity. Visit the National IPR Coordination Center for information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights.
The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion.