US Customs Seizes Nearly $7M in Counterfeit Jewelry, Watches

CrimeDec 28, 2023

US Customs Seizes Nearly $7M in Counterfeit Jewelry, Watches

Officers in Cincinnati uncovered fake goods from brands like Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Rolex, and Audemars Piguet.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection logo
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials in Cincinnati seized 11 shipments of counterfeit jewelry and watches from Dec. 1-7, valued at nearly $7 million if genuine.
Cincinnati—U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Cincinnati recently seized 11 shipments of counterfeit jewelry and watches that would have been worth nearly $7 million if genuine.

On Dec. 1, officers halted a package from Hong Kong containing 783 pieces of counterfeit jewelry claiming to be from Tiffany & Co., Cartier, Fendi, Versace, and Christian Dior that was heading to a residential address in North Carolina.

The officers spotted the “cheap generic packaging” and “lack of intricate details.” 

The following day, Dec. 2, CBP seized 60 sets of jewelry originating from Hong Kong, claiming to be from Cartier, Michael Kors, Tory Burch, and Gucci. 

On Dec. 3, the officers stopped a box from Indonesia that contained a fake Audemars Piguet watch.

These two shipments were also headed to private residences in North Carolina and Maryland.

On Dec. 6, officers inspecting freight uncovered six more shipments of counterfeit merchandise. 

One shipment held 650 pieces of fake Van Cleef & Arpels earrings, bracelets, and necklaces with a value of over $1.7 million if genuine.

Another box held 102 fake Rolex watches with matching boxes, as well as 20 counterfeit Gucci belts, with a combined value of more than $3 million if genuine.

The other four shipments held additional counterfeit goods, including a Franck Muller watch, a Cartier watch, a Tissot watch, and five Apple watches.

On Dec. 7, officers seized two more shipments of counterfeit goods. One box held counterfeit jewelry and headbands with logos from Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Van Cleef & Arpels, and Dior, as well as Mickey Mouse. 

The last shipment included 125 fake watches, claiming to be from Rolex, Gucci, Adidas, Tous, and Coach.

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“CBP protects legitimate trade practices and recommends shoppers purchase their holiday gifts from reputable websites and businesses,” said Cincinnati Port Director Alrick Brooks.

 “With the influx in e-commerce, purchasing gifts online can be misleading through third-party sites. We encourage you to be aware and report any suspicious illegal trade activity.”

The 11 shipments were declared counterfeit by CBP’s trade experts at its Centers for Excellence and Expertise and were seized for infringing on the designers’ protected trademarks.

“Protecting the American people, our borders, and enhancing economic prosperity is our job here at U.S. Customs and Border Protection,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of Chicago Field Operations.

“Officers are trained to detect shipments containing intellectual property rights violations, and the officers at the Port of Cincinnati do this job very well. By enabling compliant trade, we are protecting the American consumer and the businesses.”

CBP has an educational initiative available online to educate consumers about the dangers surrounding counterfeit goods.

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