Counterfeit fashion products — bearing names like Burberry, Coach, Fendi, Prada, Louis Vuitton and True Religion — represented 93 percent of the total $76.8 million worth of products seized by federal authorities in the U.S. as part of a six-week sting operation that spanned the U.S., Mexico and South Korea.
A multiagency federal task force conducted the operation in the U.S., dubbed “Operation Holiday Hoax,” at ports, retail outlets and swap meets across the country for 46 days beginning on Nov. 1, the start of the holiday season.
Among the 327,000 counterfeit items seized, bogus apparel, accessories and footwear items figured prominently in the U.S., accounting for $71.3 million of the total, Lev Kubiak, director of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, told us.
Authorities also seized fake cell phones, chargers, DVDs, perfume, computer software and sports jerseys as part of the bust. An additional $7.1 million worth of counterfeit products was seized in Mexico, bringing the total operation’s seizures to slightly under $84 million, Kubiak said.
The scope of the operation was massive, covering 66 cities in the U.S. and 55 cities in Mexico as well as Seoul, leading to 33 arrests in the U.S.
Among the other fake fashion items found were labels from Jimmy Choo, Rolex and Ugg products, officials said.