Feds Charge Two, Confiscate Over $1B In Fake Goods

(StraightNews.org) – The Department of Justice (DOJ) says it has seized counterfeit goods worth more than $1 billion and charged two people with trafficking fake merchandise. The seizure resulted from a joint investigation by the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, the New York Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations, and the New York Police Department.

The goods included almost 220,000 counterfeit bags, shoes, and clothes, along with other luxury products, with a total retail value of $1.03 billion, according to a press release from the US Attorney’s office.

Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jalloh, 48, allegedly ran the operation from a storage facility in Manhattan from January to October this year. Damian Williams, US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said it is the largest seizure of its kind in US history.

US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) says most fake products in the United States are imported from China (33%), Hong Kong (18%), Turkey (11%), Colombia (6%), and the Philippines (6%), with the remaining 27% from the rest of the world combined.

In 2021, law enforcement seized $3.3 billion worth of merchandise nationwide, and the CBP warns that the implications of fake goods go beyond economics. Many counterfeits can cause injury or even death, the agency says. There is a particular risk with electronic goods, medications, or cosmetics, and the CBP encourages people to buy these only from reputable retailers in the US.

In January, the office of US Trade Representative (USTR) Katherine Tai reported that China is the world leader in counterfeit products and said most of these are purchased online. Tai identified WeChat, China’s most popular app, as “one of the largest platforms for counterfeit goods.” The app has over a billion users and is owned by Tencent Holdings Limited, a Chinese technology firm.

The report also stated that China increasingly uses “brick-and-mortar storefronts to support online sales of counterfeits” in the United States and beyond.

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