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To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit IPRCenter.gov.

January 19, 2021Orlando, FLUnited StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

Ahead of NFL Conference Championship games – ICE, CBP seize NFL, NBA and MLB counterfeit championship rings

ORLANDO – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) in Orlando seized 284 counterfeit “sports championship rings” from “Friendly Confines Collectibles,” a sports memorabilia store located in Oviedo, Florida, Jan. 14, 2021. The HSI investigation was supported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

“Counterfeiting creates wide-reaching dangers to society,” said HSI Tampa acting Deputy Special Agent in Charge David Pezzutti. “Buying counterfeits – even though it may seem harmless to a consumer – hurts local and global economies, endangers people’s health and generates revenue for organized crime and even terrorism.”

“While we are all looking for a good deal, buying fake goods can be dangerous to your health, safety and to the global economy,” said Vernon T. Foret, director of the Office of Field Operations for Miami and Tampa. “CBP is no stranger to intercepting fake merchandise. On average, we seize roughly $4.3 million in merchandise, each and every day, across our nation. Remember, if the price is too good to be true, research the seller and make sure you are making an informed decision on what you are buying.”

The fake rings were replicated as teams from the National Football League (NFL), Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA) and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). The HSI Orlando investigation was predicated upon a previous seizure made by CBP Orlando officers on November 19, 2020. That seizure consisted of 54 counterfeit NFL rings and 30 counterfeit NBA rings which were shipped from China and destined for “Friendly Confines Collectibles.” None of the rings appeared to be made of precious metals nor did they seem to contain precious gemstones.

The HSI-led Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center, working collaboratively with its public and private sector partners, stands at the forefront of the U.S. government's response to combatting global intellectual property theft and enforcing intellectual properties rights violations. The IPR Center was established to combat global intellectual property theft – and, accordingly, has a significant role policing the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods on websites, social media and the dark web. To report IP theft or to learn more about the IPR Center, visit www.IPRCenter.gov.

Follow what the central and northern Florida HSI team is accomplishing year-round on Twitter @HSITampa. More information about HSI and its roles and missions can be found at https://www.ice.gov/hsi.

Updated: 01/21/2021