PHOENIX - More than 160 counterfeit NFL jerseys were seized from two Phoenix sports memorabilia stores Friday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
The businesses were targeted for investigation following a tip from a concerned citizen. HSI agents visited the stores, confirmed that they were selling counterfeit merchandise and seized 163 jerseys.
"As the NFL playoffs heat up, we're reminding consumers to give the cold shoulder to deals too good to be true," said Matt Allen, special agent in charge of ICE HSI in Arizona. "Although there is no evidence at this time that the store owners were intentionally defrauding their customers and infringing on NFL trademarks, we're continuing to monitor them and will seek federal charges if they engage in these practices again."
HSI agents say consumers should follow a few simple tips to help ensure they are buying authentic jerseys: Counterfeit goods have poor stitching around names and numbers, which is often particularly noticeable on the inside of the item. Incorrect spelling on sewn labels and counterfeit NFL logos, which should be holographic, are also indications of an illegal knock-off.
As the largest investigative arm of the Department of Homeland Security, ICE HSI plays a leading role in targeting criminal organizations responsible for producing, smuggling, and distributing counterfeit products. ICE HSI focuses not only on keeping counterfeit products off U.S. streets, but also on dismantling the criminal organizations behind this activity.
ICE manages the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, which plays a pivotal role in the U.S. government's domestic and international law enforcement attack on IPR violations.