Fake designer items are big business, but can you guess how much? About over $450,000 worth of big business, especially around the holidays. The U.S. Customers and Border Protection conducted "Operation Bad Gifts," a probe that seized nearly half a million worth of designer fakes at JFK airport's International Mail Facility. Items included sneakers, bags, watches, and sunglasses, all things that fashionable people love wearing that are also easy (and illegal) to fake.
Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Michael Kors, Chanel, and Coach were among the luxe brands whose wares were faked. Faux designer pieces are problematic on many levels, since using the company trademarks and logos is a violation of anti-counterfeiting laws, so it is a big deal beyond the fact that the items are intended to fool consumers. It's also meant to protect the economy and so that the customer really gets what he or she thinks they are paying for.
The Bad Gifts op was conducted from December 2 through December 4, with 203 counterfeit pieces discovered. If the items were indeed authentic, they'd have totaled more than $450k. Wow. Nearly half a million worth in items in just two days? That math equals crazy.
Technically, the items are worth little, since they were faked, but if they were sold, think about what that means for a luxe brand's bottom line?
The New York Post also reports that customs and border patrol officers are constantly on the lookout for counterfeit items. Public affairs specialist Anthony Bucci noted, "We're always right there on the front lines, protecting the American consumer and the US economy from counterfeit products entering the U.S." Thanks, 'Murrica! Good lookin' out, since we don't need bunk Chanel bags flooding the stands and kiosks down on Canal Street in NYC.
A similar sting was conducted earlier this year around Super Bowl time. Fake merch, like jerseys and hats, flooded the NYC region, and the CBP worked tirelessly to avoid consumers gobbling up inauthentic pieces in favor of purchasing the real thing.
Luxury items are not the only fakes the facility deals with. Pharmaceuticals, like Viagra and Cialias, are also unearthed. OK, it's one thing to tote a bogus Gucci bag, but medicine? You really shouldn't play with that.
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