$90 million in counterfeit jewelry seized in Louisville

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky may be in the middle of the country, but the Customs and Border Patrol facility in Louisville has seized millions of dollars in counterfeit jewelry this summer.

The CPB says that since the middle of July, officers at the Express Consignment Operations hub in Louisville have seized counterfeit bracelets and other jewelry worth more than $90 million if the goods were genuine.

Between July 17 and 31, CBP officers seized three large shipments of counterfeit bracelets totaling more than $42 million. This led to the arrest of a pastor in North Carolina who was discovered with a cache of more than 3,200 fake Cartier bracelets. On Aug. 2, North Carolina Secretary of State Elaine Marshall announced that church pastor JianGang "Frank" Lan was charged with felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark and is being held under $25,000 bond in the Orange County, N.C., jail.

Another large seizure took place from Sept. 9 to 17, when CBP Officers seized five shipments that contained counterfeit jewelry, which would be worth more than $48 million if they were genuine.

“When purchasing items from a vendor over the internet if it seems like too good of a deal it is,” said Thomas Mahn Jr., Louisville Port Director. “A Cartier bracelet listed online for $25 is definitely not authentic.”

He says counterfeit products are often manufactured in unregulated facilities and with substandard materials.

“Seizures, like these, will ensure inferior, often dangerous goods do not fall into the hands of everyday Americans,” stated Mahn. “Counterfeit jewelry is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials unbeknownst to the buyer. These seizures protect the rights of the intellectual property rights holder, health and safety of Americans, and the reputation of online marketplaces involved in these transactions.”

The Customs and Border Patrol says they protect businesses and consumers through an intellectual property rights enforcement program, since importation of counterfeit merchandise can cause significant revenue loss, damage the U.S. economy, and threaten the health and safety of the American people.

In 2017 CBP established an educational initiative at U.S. airports and online in order to raise consumer awareness and conscientiousness about the consequences and dangers that can be associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits campaign can be found at www.cbp.gov/fakegoodsrealdangers.

On a typical day in 2018, CBP officers seized $3.7 million worth of items with intellectual property rights violations.

If you have any information regarding suspected fraud or illegal trade activity, please contact CBP through the e-Allegations Online Trade Violation Reporting System or by calling 1-800-BE-ALERT.

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