$97.8 million worth of fake sports memorabilia seized ahead of Super Bowl – CBS Los Angeles
LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – Thousands of counterfeit Super Bowl-related merchandise seized from vendors across Southern California are worth an estimated $97.8 million, federal authorities said Thursday.
Operation Team Player — an effort involving multiple federal agencies, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the NFL — has cracked down year-round on the illegal importation of counterfeit athletic apparel and merchandise.
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The joint task force scoured online marketplaces, local flea markets such as the Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet and Santee Alley in downtown LA’s fashion district, looking for fake swimsuits, hats, rings, T-shirts, jackets, tickets, memorabilia, and other sports-related memorabilia in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl.
Those looking for bargains at the popular Santa Fe Springs Swap Meet in Los Angeles were being fooled by a few vendors selling counterfeits #SBLVI speed until the @HSILosAngeles and @IPRCenter the team intervened. pic.twitter.com/R79SgQlgrG
— Homeland Security Investigations (@HSI_HQ) February 9, 2022
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More than 267,511 counterfeit sporting goods, worth an estimated $97.8 million, were seized during this year’s Operation Team Player, officials said.
Criminals exploit the enthusiasm of fans at major sporting events by selling fake products. @HSI_HQ & @CBP had the chance to give @acaldwellwsj a behind-the-scenes look at an anti-counterfeiting operation as part of our efforts to protect public health and safety before #SuperBowl . pic.twitter.com/ilCgBghyla
— National IPR Center (@IPRCenter) February 8, 2022
The value of the year’s seizures more than doubled from last year, when Operation Team Player collected $45 million worth of counterfeit sports equipment. Federal authorities say the global pandemic has pushed much of the counterfeit trade online, forcing them to focus their efforts on commercial websites illegally selling and distributing counterfeit goods online.
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“While the scale of global intellectual property theft and intellectual property rights violations has increased with the rapid growth of e-commerce platforms, law enforcement efforts have remained focused on disrupting blockchains. supply chain to stop the flow of illicit goods into the United States,” Steve Francis, acting associate executive director of Homeland Security Investigations, said in a statement.