Special agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) seized more than 6,200 items worth $825,570 in an operation targeting vendors who sell fake merchandise at flea markets.
HSI agents were tipped off that counterfeit merchandise with labels from Hello Kitty, Gucci, Rolex, Coach, Louis Vuitton, Nike, and Perry Ellis were being sold at a market outside Tampa, Florida. Agents seized the goods on February 13, according to a press release distributed on Friday.
This seizure falls on the heels of an operation that took place earlier this month. On Feb. 1, HSI Tampa special agents seized nearly $1.2 million worth of fake designer purses, perfume, scarves, and sunglasses from an individual already awaiting sentencing for trafficking in counterfeit goods.
"A good rule of thumb is for buyers to beware. When you purchase these items you're not getting a quality product from the trademark-holder. You're getting a substandard one. You're also contributing to the loss of American jobs," said Sue McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI Tampa.
Learn more about intellectual property theft at www.iprcenter.gov.
photo by Tet_Sy/flickr