Thousands of counterfeit luxury items such as fake Gucci belts, Hermes handbags and Fendi shorts were recently seized at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced Wednesday.
The 5,300 products, if genuine, would have been worth more than $3.4 million, authorities said.
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The goods were flown in from Hong Kong, CBP said in a news release. The items included “1,242 counterfeit Gucci belts, 678 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes, 531 counterfeit Louis Vuitton handbags, 500 counterfeit Samsung adapters, 502 counterfeit Gucci fanny packs, 230 counterfeit Hermes handbags, 192 counterfeit Casio Shock watches, 144 counterfeit Ferragamo belts, 100 counterfeit Versace belts and 119 counterfeit Fendi shorts.”
“The American public should be aware that buying a counterfeit product is a lose-lose proposition, because the money they paid often funds criminal enterprises,” LAX's CBP Port Director Donald R. Kusser said.
“The American public should be aware that buying a counterfeit product is a lose-lose proposition, because the money they paid often funds criminal enterprises.”
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“In addition, buyers get a substandard low-quality product, containing unknown chemicals and likely produced under inhumane conditions,” he added.
The CBP said it has seized 33,810 shipments of items that violated intellectual property rights during fiscal year 2018, and their approximate value — had they been real — would have been $1.4 billion.
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The seized items with the highest MSRP, or Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price, were jewelry and watches, with an estimated value of more than $618 million had the products been genuine, according to CBP data. Those items also represented 44 percent of total seizures. Fake wallets and handbags followed, with seizures constituting an estimated value of more than $226 million.
Accessories and apparel were seized the most often – 6,098 times constituting 18 percent of all seizures, CBP data showed.
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Consumers were advised to shop with caution and to report any suspected illegal activity or trade fraud by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT or by using the CBP's online reporting system.