CBP Officers in Louisville and Indianapolis Intercept Multiple Shipments of Counterfeit Sports Paraphernalia

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Texas USA - February 24,2020: A person in a truck beinging questiond at a USA border patrol checkpoint.

LOUISVILLE, Ky–On Monday and Tuesday, July 11 and 12, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Indianapolis and Louisville seized 178 counterfeit championship rings and 171 counterfeit professional sports jerseys that, if genuine would have had a combined Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) value of $288,350.

Title Ring
CBP officers in Louisville and Indianapolis are seeing an increase in counterfeit sports memorabilia and apparel.

The first shipments arrived on the night of July 11, 2022. CBP Officers in Indianapolis discovered 108 counterfeit jerseys from several National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), and National Football League teams. These counterfeits were all destined for a residence in Bakersfield, California. Meanwhile, CBP officers in Louisville were stopping 63 counterfeit MLB jersey from reaching their destination, a residence in University Park, Illinois. The following night, July 12, CBP officers in Louisville discovered a shipment heading to West Chapel, Florida. Inside were 178 counterfeit championship rings. The championship rings were for the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, NBA Boston Celtics, and the University of Georgia.

All the shipments were arriving from various locations in China. Officers deemed these were all counterfeit based on various observations, such as improper description of goods, value declared, packaging, poor quality materials, sub-par printing, and demonstrated practices such as the shipping of a commercial quantity of items to a residential address.

“Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the nation who may be duped into paying high prices for non-genuine products,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago Field Office. “I’m extremely proud of these officers’ determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”

The rapid growth of e-commerce enables consumers to search for and easily purchase millions of products through online vendors, but this easy access gives counterfeit and pirated goods more ways to enter the U.S. economy. 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.

“Counterfeiters only care about making a profit,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville. “They do not care about the effect their fake product has on you, your family, or the economy. Our officers are well-trained to find seizures like these, to continue our mission of protecting the American public.”

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2021, CBP seized 27,107 shipments with Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) related violations.  If the seized products were genuine, the total MSRP of the items would have been valued at over $3.3 billion. This represents a 152% increase compared to FY2020, when goods valued at $1.31 billion MSRP were seized for IPR violations.  A return to pre-pandemic trading levels and an overall increase in the number of CBP seizures of counterfeit products account for the significant rise in MSRP.

Additionally, adversaries are seeking to exploit an increase in volume, threatening U.S. economic interests with risks in the form of IPR infringement as well as safety risks from poor quality and untested consumer products. In FY2021, 89 percent of IPR seizures were found in express consignment and international mail shipments.

In FY 2021, wearing apparel and accessories topped the list for the number of seizures with 30,681, representing 30% of all IPR seizures. 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 more information about IPR including counterfeiting and piracy.

CBP has established an educational initiative, Truth Behind Counterfeits, to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. The agency 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.