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Chicago CBP Nabs Counterfeit Cartier, Vuitton and Versace Luxury Goods

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at an Express Consignment Operations (ECO) hub near Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport seized a shipment on Jan. 31 arriving from Israel containing more than $713,000 worth of counterfeit Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Versace bracelets, rings and necklaces.

During the month of January, Chicago CBP averaged at least one shipment a day of counterfeit goods. Officers at the ECO and Chicago’s International Mail Facility (IMF) seized 29 shipments worth $2.88 million. Officers found goods including counterfeit shoes, wallets, designer apparel, handbags and jewelry.

“These are significant seizures for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of field operations-Chicago. “I’m extremely proud of these officers’ determination in stopping illicit shipments and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”

All these counterfeit shipments were arriving from various countries–China, Hong Kong, the Netherlands, Russia, the Philippines, Thailand, Mexico, and Israel. Jewelry, which includes rings, necklaces, bracelets and watches, was the most common item that was found. Counterfeit designer handbags and apparel were also prevalent in these shipments. The shipments were heading to various cities throughout the U.S., to include the local Illinois cities of Joliet, Lake in the Hills and Chicago.

“Our officers are at the frontline protecting the U.S. economy and guarding against charlatans making money by selling fake merchandise,” said Shane Campbell, area port director-Chicago.

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CBP said 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. U.S. consumers spend more than $100 billion every year on intellectual property rights (IPR) infringing goods, falling victim to approximately 20 percent of the counterfeits that are illegally sold worldwide.

The agency noted that counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime and that consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard.

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.