ROGERS, Ohio — Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized more than $500,000 worth of counterfeit merchandise – including sports apparel, designer clothing, perfume, batteries, consumer electronics, and mobile phone accessories – in a coordinated crackdown targeting vendors at the Rogers Community Auction.
All told, the enforcement actions resulted in the seizure of thousands of individual items bearing the names of more than 20 designer brands, including UGG boots, Michael Kors purses, Beats by Dre headphones, Otterbox and LifeProof cell phone cases and NFL jerseys. Collectively, authorities estimate the seized merchandise is worth more than $510,095, based upon the items' suggested retail price had the goods been legitimate.
HSI received substantial assistance with the late July enforcement actions from U.S Customs and Border Protection.
"While counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts, consumers can still act as the first line of defense in protecting themselves from substandard and often dangerous goods," said Marlon Miller, special agent in charge of HSI Detroit, which covers Michigan and Ohio. "We urge consumers to look for the tell-tale signs including prices that are too low and inferior quality in product materials. Saving a couple bucks is not worth risking your health."
In tests, counterfeit batteries have leaked, overheated and ruptured. Some tested counterfeit perfumes have been determined to contain bovine urine, antifreeze and other harmful chemicals.
As part of the national effort to combat the growing problem on counterfeit goods, the HSI-led IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. Working in close coordination with the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21-member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to intellectual property theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety and the U.S. economy.
For more information on the IPR Center please visit www.IPRCenter.gov.
HSI encourages the public to report intellectual property rights violations and related information by calling at 1-866-DHS-2ICE or by visiting www.ICE.gov/tips. For more information, visit http://www.ice.gov.