On November 30, 2022 a large counterfeit bust occurred at a New Orleans area express consignment facility. Millions of dollars in Louis Vuitton and Gucci counterfeit purses were discovered. The New Orleans express consignment facility handles the inspection and clearance of consignment shipments into the United States.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers conducted an intensive exam on a nearly 20 pound shipment manifested as “jackets” and valued at only $90.
But the shipment actually consisted of a box containing sixteen counterfeit bags; three Louis Vuitton backpacks, three Louis Vuitton handbags, three Louis Vuitton purses, three Gucci messenger bags, three Coach purses, and one Saint Laurent purse. There were many other counterfeit designer products seized, totaling $29.5 million worth of merchandise.
The merchandise was shipped from China, a high source country for the manufacture and export of counterfeit merchandise. Based on the poor quality and circumstances surrounding the importation, the merchandise was detained for further review and ultimately determined to bear counterfeit trademarks.
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New Orleans Director of Field Operations Steven Stavinoha says:
“Counterfeit goods are poor quality products that cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year while robbing our country of jobs and tax revenues. CBP officers remain committed to stopping counterfeit smuggling, taking profits from organized crime, and helping protect our communities from potentially hazardous knockoffs.”
Handbags, purses, wallets, apparel, footwear, watches, jewelry, and consumer electronics are at higher risk of being counterfeited. Counterfeit versions of popular brands are regularly sold in online marketplaces and flea markets.
Not only are counterfeit goods produced in unregulated and potentially exploitative environments in foreign countries, but the profits from their sales provide a funding stream to organized crime.Illicit manufacturers continue to exploit the rapid growth of e-commerce to sell counterfeit goods to unsuspecting consumers in the United States. In fiscal year 2021, CBP and the Department of Homeland Security seized over 27,000 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights.
The total estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was $3.3 billion.Counterfeit goods can often be spotted by their inferior quality. Peeling labels, low-quality ink or printing errors on the packaging, and loosely packed items in the box can be signs that the product you purchased may not be legitimate.
Counterfeit apparel and handbags may feature poor or uneven stitching and improperly sized or designed logos. The performance of counterfeit electronics is often marked by short battery life and regular overheating.