CBP seizes counterfeit designer masks, bucket hats worth nearly $800K
AUSTIN, Texas (KOLD News 13) - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers examining arriving shipments at an express consignment location intercepted over 5,000 counterfeit designer face masks, hats and headbands valued at nearly $800,000.
The confusingly similar items were shipped from China and arrived in Austin in early March when CBP officers inspected the shipment and discovered trademarked items including Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Versace, and Chanel among other name brands.
“Transnational criminal organizations take every opportunity to fund their illegal activities including manufacturing poor replications of authentic designer brands,” said Austin CBP Port Director Richard Mendez. “A vast majority of consumers are unaware that counterfeiting can involve forced labor and human trafficking. This seizure reflects our commitment to protect our nation’s economy and consumers from those intent on defrauding businesses and consumers alike.”
The examination yielded 15 Louis Vuitton baseball caps, 500 Louis Vuitton face masks, 50 Louis Vuitton head bands, 110 Gucci bucket hats, 2700 Gucci face masks, 68 Gucci head bands, 1000 Chanel Face Masks, 30 Chanel head bands, 200 Versace face masks, 400 Hello Kitty face masks, and 400 Nike face masks. These items were seized for IPR violations. While the domestic value of these items is $239,621; had these items been authentic, the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price would have reached $799,935.
According to Mendez, counterfeit commodities can multiply illegal profits when these types of illegitimate items are made available on websites, sold in flea markets or unauthorized outlets. He added that consumers are deceived into believing that they are buying an original product at a significant discount. CBP officers work tirelessly to intercept and disrupt criminal activity.
In fiscal year 2020, CBP processed $2.4 trillion in imports, the end of the fiscal year 2019, CBP recorded more than 23,700 seizures of counterfeit goods, with an estimated value of $1.2 billion.
CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers associated with purchasing counterfeit and pirated goods online or in stores. To report suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.
Intellectual property rights violations can also be reported to the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center or by telephone at 1-866-IPR-2060.
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