"Counterfeiters prey on sports fans at events like the NBA All-Star Game," said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa. "I urge buyers to beware. Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime. Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses more than $200 billion each year and accounts for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs."
During the days leading up to the NBA All-Star Game, HSI special agents operated in teams throughout the Orlando area, targeting suspicious activity that might lead them to counterfeiters. HSI special agents seized counterfeit items including t-shirts, caps and jerseys. The items are valued at more than $69,000. Ten individuals were arrested for possessing or offering to sell counterfeit NBA merchandise in violation of Florida state law.
"The NBA is committed year-round to protecting both our fans and legitimate, tax-paying retailers from being victimized by counterfeiters seeking to profit illegally from the public's enthusiasm for the NBA," said Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA. "We greatly appreciate the tireless efforts of HSI, the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff's Office throughout All-Star Weekend and are pleased to have their support in working to address this important issue."
As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling, and distributing counterfeit products. HSI investigations focus not only on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity.
To report or learn more about intellectual property theft, visit www.IPRcenter.gov.