SAN FRANCISCO - More than 2,000 items of counterfeit Major League Baseball (MLB) clothing seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) agents in San Francisco during last year's baseball playoffs will soon be on their way to the needy in Haiti.
Agents seized the MLB knockoffs during enforcement actions in and around AT & T Park during last year's baseball playoffs and World Series. Collectively, the operations resulted in the confiscation of more than 2,400 counterfeit MLB items, including shirts, bill caps, buttons and flags. Had the merchandise been genuine, it is estimated it would have retailed domestically for more than $150,000.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which currently has custody of the counterfeit clothing, will be turning the seized items over to World Vision, a humanitarian organization that aids impoverished children and families around the globe. According to World Vision, the merchandise will be distributed in Haiti by Love a Child, a humanitarian agency that works exclusively in that country. The clothing is expected to arrive in Haiti later this year, in time for the 2011 World Series.
"The sale of counterfeit goods causes immeasurable harm to the U.S. economy, but through charitable efforts like this, at least some good can come from these crimes," said Shane Folden, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco.
In fiscal year 2010, ICE HSI and CBP intellectual property rights enforcement efforts led to nearly 20,000 seizures, a 34 percent increase compared to the previous year. The seized goods had a total value of $1.4 billion, based upon the manufacturer's suggested retail price had the products been legitimate.