A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

U.S. Customs in Erlanger and Louisville seize millions in counterfeit Cartier bracelets, rings

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at two Kentucky offices halted two shipments arriving from Hong Kong, which contained more than 800 counterfeit designer bracelets, worth over $8.7 million.

Officers at the Port of Cincinnati, located in Erlanger, detained two parcels heading to a residence in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Fake jewelry, seized. (CBC photo)

They inspected the packages to determine the admissibility of its contents in accordance with CBP regulations. Inside the first box officers found 267 Cartier bracelets, and the other box contained another 137 Cartier bracelets.

On the same night, officers at the Port of Louisville were inspecting different parcels to determine their admissibility. A shipment arriving from same location in Hong Kong and going to the same residence in West Palm Beach, Florida as Cincinnati’s parcel, was inspected and found to contain 401 Cartier rings and bracelets.

The jewelry pieces were reviewed by an import specialist who determined the items were counterfeit. If they had been real, the total value for Cincinnati’s seizure would have been over $4.17 million, while Louisville’s items would have been more than $4.55 million; a total of $8.72 million between the two offices.

“This is a significant seizure for CBP, but unfortunately, CBP officers see counterfeit shipments like this every day,” said Richard Gillespie, Port Director-Cincinnati. “I’m extremely proud of these officers determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy.”

“Driven by the rise in E-commerce, the market for counterfeit goods in the United States has shifted in recent years from one in which consumers often knowingly purchased counterfeits to one in which counterfeiters try to deceive consumers into buying goods they believe are authentic,” said Thomas Mahn, Port Director-Louisville.

“Consumers are unaware that they’re buying a dangerous product as the counterfeit is just that good.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has the authority to detain, seize, forfeit, and ultimately destroy merchandise seeking entry into the United States if it bears an infringing trademark or copyright that has been registered with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, or the U.S. Copyright Office, and has subsequently been recorded with CBP.

Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights.  The total estimated value of them, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion.

CBP has established an educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that are often associated with the purchase of counterfeit and pirated goods. Information about the Truth Behind Counterfeits public awareness campaign can be found here.

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