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In early June, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Kentucky seized a shipment of counterfeit luxury footwear from Turkey headed for a home in Georgia.
The seizure consisted of two shipments of counterfeit Louis Vuitton sandals carrying an MSRP of $276,540 if authentic.
CBP claims the purchase of counterfeit goods supports criminal activity while robbing businesses of revenue. The early June seizure of sandals is only a small portion of the reported $4.3 million worth of counterfeit products seized daily last year, as reported by CBP.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you do have to act fact – certain time lines are in effect from the day Customs issues the seizure notice.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Houston seaport seized over 2,000 solar panels from Turkey violating intellectual property rights. If authentic, the value of the solar panels would total over $658,125.
This is the fourth importation of counterfeit solar panels – with counterfeit panels entering Houston as early as February. CBP later verified with the trademark owner that confirmed the panels were counterfeit.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers at Chicago O’Hare International Mail Branch detained (and subsequently seized) a package from China manifested as containing contents as industrial masks on May 30.
The shipment contained in 24 boxes with each box containing 10 3M brand, 8822 Plus Masks. CBP suspected the masks as counterfeit due to low value, poor quality and poor packaging.
After CBP detained the masks, samples were sent to 3M where the shipment was selected for exam due to x-ray inconsistencies. Inside the parcel were 24 boxes each containing 10 counterfeit 3M 8822 Plus masks. Import Specialists noted the poor packaging, low value, and poor quality. A subsequent 3M authenticator (didn’t know they had those) confirmed the masks were counterfeit – if real, the masks would have an MSRP of $813.
Given the increase in COVID-19 cases, we will likely see more importations of counterfeit PPE, medicine and thermometers.
To combat these criminal activities, CBP is targeting imports and exports that may contain counterfeit or illicit goods. The products in targeted shipments often include false or misleading claims, lack required warnings or lack proper approvals.
CBP officers in Birmmingham seized 500 unregistered non-contact and infrared thermometers with country of origin as Malaysia or China. If genuine articles, the value of the shipment would have totaled $21,400.
The thermometers did contain the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) markings on the packaging and the devices, but the shipment was still seized as the shipping company was not registered with the FDA when the thermometers were imported. The registration of the shipping company is required as part of the pre-market notification process under section 510(k) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.
According to CBP, so far this year they have seized 107,000 illegal COVID-19 test kits, 11,000 doses of chloroquine and more than 750,000 counterfeit masks. Given the current increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations, CBP will likely be seizing more thermometers, face masks and chloroquine in the near future.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents in San Juan seized counterfeit watches and jewelry from a shipment from Hong Kong. If genuine, the value of the counterfeit products would total approximately $256,000. The above image from Customs shows a display of the fake Rolex brand watches seized.
If you have had your goods seized by Customs, you may face both criminal and civil penalties. Contact David Hsu by phone/text at 832-896-6288 to discuss your options – feel free to also send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) continues to seize many shipments of counterfeit, unapproved or other COVID-19 products of questionable quality.
At the beginning of June 2020, CBP has seized the following COVID-19 related items:
107,300 FDA-prohibited COVID-19 test kits in 301 incidents; 750,000 counterfeit face masks in 86 incidents; 2,500 EPA-prohibited anti-virus lanyards in 89 incidents; and 11,000 FDA-prohibited chloroquine tablets in 91 incidents.
In addition to the risk of using non-FDA approved drugs, CBP claims the sale of counterfeit COVID-19 goods benefit organized crime.
I previously posted on this blog back on May 23rd about seizure of $252k in cash that was marked in red Chinese letters with the words道具专用. Which is loosely translated as “for prop use only”. Earlier this week, CBP seized an additional $351,000 in prop currency from a shipment from Shanghai, China and headed to a residence in Milwaukee.
Upon further examination, Customs seized the counterfeit currency, noting the bills all were marked with the same serial number, lack of red and blue fibers and missing the embeded watermark. Customs also noted on the back were Chinese letters on back of bills in red.
CBP only posted the image above so I do not know for sure what Chinese characters were on the back, but the words were probably the standard 道具专用, meaning “for prop use only”. While labeled for prop use only (such as in movies), CBP considers these “foreign currency notes” as counterfeit and will destroy them. One such reason is because the prop money has been successful used in all major cities at multiple retailers.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Dallas Fort Worth International Airport seized counterfeit purses, headphones, sunglasses and Yeti collers valued at over $108,000 if authentic. This seized shipment originated from Hong Kong – where 9 out of 10 seizure cases reported by Customs indicate as the source of the counterfeit goods. I believe the tech goods are likely made across the border in Shenzhen and the fashion items are also made cheaply across the border in Guangzhou.
The exact counterfeit items included Tiffany & Company rings, six Louis Vuitton handbags, seven pairs of Chanel and Guicci sunglasses, Beats headphones, seven Apple AirPod Pros and two Yeti coolers.
My guess is the Yeti coolers are made by one of the vendors on Aliexpress that sells same or similar type coolers, not sure why they would risk a seizure by using the Yeti name.
CBP officers intercepted a shipment and after reviewing the information in the shipping documents, selected it for examination. During the examination, officers discovered three Tiffany & Co rings, six Louis Vuitton handbags, seven pairs of Chanel and Gucci sunglasses, Powerbeats Beats by Dre headphones, seven Apple AirPod Pros and two Yeti coolers.
In general, seized goods suspected of being counterfeit will have samples sent to the CBP’s Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Center of Excellence and Expertise’s import specialists to determine their authenticity. At this CEE, the staff will examine the goods and discuss the items with the trademark owners. After examining the goods, import specialists determined the goods were counterfeit and seized the shipment.
If you receive a Notice of Seizure from Customs, you have 30 days to respond. Contact David Hsu for all your customs seizure needs at 832-896-6288, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officers in Kentucky seized over 150 counterfeit Super Bowl championship rings arriving from China. It wasn’t mentioned in the article, but the seizure in Kentucky means it was likely shipped by DHL.
The shipment contained rings from various professional sports organizations such as the NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL. If authentic, the rings would have an MSRP of $43,450. As the rings likely were not licnsed by the team or organization, they were seized for Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) violations.
For suspected counterfeit goods, CBP will send an image to the property right holder – if the rights holder says the goods are not authentic, then Customs will seize the goods.
If you have had your good seized by Customs or have received a Notice of Seizure, contact customs seizure attorney David Hsu anytime by phone/text at 832-896-6288 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Image of seized bundles of “prop money”, source: CBP.gov
In Mid-May, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Ohio seized counterfeit $100 bills totaling over $252,000. The shipment was from China to an address in Oklahoma. The package was selected for examination and an x-ray of the package showed what appears to typically be bundled currency.
Upon further inspection, CBP officers found $252,300 in cash (photo above is the actual seized currency). The currency was determined to be fake because it was printed on regular paper and had the same serial number for every bill. Additionally, on the back of the currency were the words in simplified Chinese: 道具专用 (see photo below of the actual image released by Customs).
Image of simplified Chinese writing on the back of the $100 bill, source: CBP.gov
As an aside – simplified Chinese is the writing used in mainland China. Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan all use the traditional form of writing Chinese characters.
The CBP media release explained the Chinese words as foreign writing and did not translate the words in Chinese. The words in Chinese roughly translate to “for prop use only”.
CBP says these notes are “Foreign Writing Notes” and are against Federal law and considered contraband. Sometimes they are also referred to as “motion picture, foreign writing notes”. While the currency is noted for “prop use only”, the currency is seized as the foreign notes are frequently passed off as real currency.
Just my thoughts:
My guess is the person in Oklahoma was going to use the fake money for a video or movie and purchased the play money through a China-based e-commerce portal.
I have never held this kind of prop currency, but maybe the writing in Chinese is erasable? The Secret Service is concerned about the importation of foreign writing notes, and probably has seen many people pass off these notes as real – perhaps the writing in Chinese can be removed?
The CBP media release did not say this importation was referred to the Secret Service or HSI, CBP probably will seize the currency, issue a seizure notice. Without a referral to HSI, CBP has probably determined there was no criminal activity on the part of the importer of record in Oklahoma.
If you have had funny money, or any other of your goods seized by Customs – contact David Hsu if you have any questions – you can call/text 832-896-6288 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.