Tag: counterfeit

CBP Atlanta Seizes over $500k in Counterfeit Cash

There could have been a big cash seizure in Atlanta by CBP, if only the cash was not counterfeit. CBP Atlanta released some news about this very large would-be-cash-seizure, that happened on Halloween.  The man who tried to bring it in was a U.S. citizen return from Peru. All the money was hidden, and it was confirmed counterfeit by the United States Secret Service.

It was Halloween however, alert U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers working at Hartsfield -Jackson Atlanta International Airport couldn’t be tricked by a man attempting to smuggle half a million dollars in counterfeit U.S. currency. CBP officer’s Tuesday, intercepted the 62-year old U.S. Citizen arriving from Peru who had attempted to hide $509,700 in counterfeit U.S. $100 bills in his baggage.

“This seizure demonstrates how U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s border search authority protects American businesses and consumers against counterfeit currency and other illicit products that pose potential harm to our nation and to our economy.” said Carey Davis, CBP’s Port Director for the Area Port of Atlanta. “This is our Border Security work at its finest, and we are proud of the officers involved.”

Agents from the U.S. Secret Service arrived and confirmed that the $100 bills were counterfeit. Secret Service agents took custody of the fake currency and individual. The U.S. Attorney’s Office, Northern District of Georgia is prosecuting.

Has Atlanta CBP seized your cash?

If Atlanta CBP seized your cash, beware that you stand to lose a lot of it because of their aggressive penalization of bulk cash smuggling and structuring offenses. You should read our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and contact our customs lawyer for a free cash seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

$3,700 in counterfeit cash seized by CBP from an Argentinian woman laid out on a metal table presented by a CBP officer

CBP at DFW Airport Seizes Counterfeit Cash

When is a custom seizure of $3,700 news? When the money is counterfeit. Here’s an interesting story from CBP about some fake $100 bills headed for Salt Lake City, Utah, from Argentina from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.

The woman’s punishment for possessing the counterfeit cash? Seizure of the money by CBP and expedited removal (that is, instant deportation) to Argentina, and very likely revocation of any visa and future inadmissibility to the United States. CBP seizes not only unreported, smuggled, and structured cash for violation of the federal currency reporting regulations, but also counterfeit cash. We’ve wrote about previous efforts to import counterfeit cash that resulted in CBP seizures in the past: like Hell money imported into Detroit from Vietnam, and counterfeit checks seized in Chicago, and then the counterfeit cash seized in Detroit, and over $120,000 in counterfeit cash seized at JFK, and many, many more instances you can find by searching this customs law blog.

Here’s the full story from CBP:

DALLAS — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport intercepted 37 counterfeit $100 dollar bills that were being transported by an Argentinean woman.

The passenger was attempting to make entry to the United States as a tourist and in her possession were the $100 dollars bills wrapped in cellophane.

Early Monday morning, an Argentinean female passenger arrived at DFW seeking entry as a tourist with her final destination salted [sic] for Salt Lake City, Utah. Upon her arrival, CBP officers selected the passenger for a secondary inspection. During a secondary inspection of her belongings, a stack of $100 dollar bills was found wrapped in cellophane. When unwrapped, the bills produced a strong, uncommon, chemical odor. At first glance the currency appeared legitimate however, a closer look revealed the absence of fine-line detail and intaglio printing, printing technics [sic] associated with U.S. currency.

“This interception of counterfeit currency, that would have made its way into the U.S. commerce, is indicative of the commitment and attention to detail our officers pay on a daily basis,” said O’Ruill McCanlas, Acting Area Port Director, Area Port of Dallas. “Had this currency been introduced into our economy, someone down the line would have unknowingly exchanged this counterfeit money, tried to use it or even gifted it to someone else.  We will take every opportunity to intercept this type of transnational criminal activity.”

After further examination of the currency, the 37 $100 dollar bills were seized and turned over to United States Secret Service (USSS).

The passenger was taken into custody by CBP and after further investigation the passenger was processed for Expedited Removal and returned to Argentina.

Did Detroit CBP seize cash from you?

If CBP seized cash from you Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, you can learn more from our trusted legal road-map of a customs money seizure and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

New regulations allow importers to obtain seized merchandise samples from imporations of suspected counterfeit products. Here, a box of counterfeit contacts are pictured.

Seized merchandise samples from CBP

U.S. Customs & Border Protection amended their regulations concerning intellectual property, trademark, and copyright to give importers a greater opportunity to test the genuineness of their importations by obtaining seized merchandise samples from CBP. 19 CFR 133.21(d), effective October 19, 2015, provides as follows:

Disclosure to importer of unredacted photographs, images, and samples. CBP will disclose to the importer unredacted photographs, images, or an unredacted sample of imported merchandise suspected of bearing a counterfeit mark at any time after the merchandise is presented to CBP for examination. CBP may demand the return of the sample at any time. The importer must return the sample to CBP upon demand or at the conclusion of any examination, testing, or similar procedure performed on the sample. In the event that the sample is damaged, destroyed, or lost while in the possession of the importer, the importer must, in lieu of return of the sample, certify to CBP that: “The sample described as [insert description] and provided pursuant to 19 CFR 133.21(d) was (damaged/destroyed/lost) during examination, testing, or other use.”

CBP’s written comments about this new regulation confirm that the request for seized merchandise samples goes beyond the detention into seizure and beyond by stating: “if an importer does not identify a need for a sample until after CBP seizes goods as bearing counterfeit marks the importer may request a sample at that time.” Disclosure of Information for Certain Intellectual Property Rights Enforced at the Border, 80 FR 56370, 53674.  This new regulation specifically envisions the sample leaving CBP custody (by stating CBP can demand “return” at any time or after examination and testing; further, that the merchandise could be “damaged, destroyed, or lost while in possession of the importer”).

This new regulation totally changes the game importers face who have had merchandise seized for alleged counterfeit marks. Previously, samples or pictures of the seized merchandise were not available to the importer administratively, but only to the trademark owner. The old system left the importer at the mercy of CBP and the trademark owner, who alone could assess the authenticity of the marks. The only way to get samples was through (often impossible/impractical cooperation) from FP&F at CBP, or to file a claim to have the seizure tested before a district court judge, with all the rights to discovery that thereby attach.

Now that samples are available, the importer can obtain samples and perform its own examination or testing and provide evidence contrary to the determination of CBP or the trademark owner. The availability of sample, in our opinion, greatly levels the playing field when it comes to challenging a seizure made by CBP, or when challenging a later penalty proceeding. The possibility of a penalty for a seizure is a great reason to request and obtain a sample as a routine practice before the products are forfeited and destroyed.

Are you trying to get seized merchandise samples from CBP?

The detention, seizure, and forfeiture of merchandise bearing allegedly counterfeit trademarks is a long process, and fraught with procedural missteps for anyone who is not an attorney. You need the advice of a customs lawyer, not this article (which is not legal advice).

If you have products detained or seized because they are suspected of bearing counterfeit trademarks, can contact us for a seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

 

Stacks of Counterfeit $100 Bills that was part of the cash seizure at Detroit Metro Airport

$4.65M Counterfeit Cash Seizure At Detroit Metro Airport

On February 12, there was an unusual cash seizure at Detroit Metro Airport. U.S. Customs & Border Protection (CBP) seized over $4.6 million dollars in “Hell money” — counterfeit currency burned in Asian funeral rituals to impart wealth the deceased in the afterlife — from a couple arriving from Seoul, South Korea.

This is definitely an interesting story. And from the buzz I see on social media, the couple will not face (or at least has not faced) criminal prosecution. The law on use and possession of counterfeit currency is found in 18 USC Title 25, and it appears that the government was not satisfied the couple had intent to use the money (as if it were lawful tender) so as to charge them with a crime.

In fact, I’m not sure this qualifies as a “cash seizure” because the story only says that the Secret Service and Homeland Security Investigations “took custody” of it. I’m not sure what that means, if not seizure. But the legal question that I am curious about is, if there is no crime under Title 18 (and assuming no other crimes), what is the basis for seizure?

There must be one, and I’m sure the notice of seizure will be rife with citations if, in fact, this actually is a cash seizure. I don’t have the time to get into that issue now.

In any event, here’s the story of this cash seizure at Detroit metro airport:

DETROIT– U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport announces, today, the seizure of $4,650,000 in Hell money printed to resemble U.S. and Vietnamese currency.

Hell money is printed on joss paper and resembles legal tender bank notes but is not legal tender or recognized currency; instead, Hell money is presented as burnt offerings to the deceased. This custom is often practiced in certain Asian cultures.

“Attempting to import any amount of counterfeit currency, regardless of the intended purpose, can have serious implications for arriving travelers,” said CBP Port Director Devin Chamberlain.  “Quality law enforcement work and solid attention to detail resulted in this seizure, and I am proud of the officers involved.”

The seizure occurred Feb. 12 after CBP officers encountered the couple who were arriving from Seoul, Korea.  Each person made conflicting statements about the amount of currency they were carrying. CBP officers referred the couple for a baggage examination.  A search of their luggage resulted in the discovery of 93 bundles of counterfeit U.S. $100 bills and 32 bundles of counterfeit Vietnamese Dong, the national currency of Vietnam.  The couple said the counterfeit currency was to be used as burnt offerings to the deceased.

CBP reminds international travelers that the manufacturing of, or importation of counterfeit Federal Reserve notes could result in federal charges.

Agents from Homeland Security Investigations and the U.S. Secret Service took custody of the fake currency.

Agents are reminding all travelers that the manufacturing of, and/or importation of counterfeit bank notes could result in federal charges.

 

Have you had a cash seizure at Detroit Metro airport?

If you’ve had a cash seizure at Detroit Metro airport by CBP you can learn more about the process from our trusted customs money seizure legal guide and can contact us for a free currency seizure consultation by clicking the contact buttons on this page.

Customs Seized 10,000 Fake Designer Handbags in Miami

Customs seized fake handbags, for which the value would be nearly $5 million dollars if they were genuine. After the handbags are seized and determined to be counterfeit, CBP can assess a penalty against the importer of counterfeit goods, even if they believed them to be genuine. The penalty is based off the manufacturer’s suggest retail price of the counterfeit merchandise, as if it had been genuine. Therefore, there’s a very strong reason to believe that the person who imported these bags is going to be facing at least a $5 million dollar penalty. Here is an excerpt from the full story:

Customs seizure of counterfeit handbags.
A customs seizure of counterfeit handbags valued at nearly $5 million dollars.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers at the Miami seaport seized 10,788 high-fashion counterfeit Gucci and Coach handbags arriving in a shipment from China on July 15. Had the goods been genuine, the designer handbags would have an estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $4,904,160.

CBP officers initially suspected the handbags to be counterfeit since they did not appear to be of the quality consistent with the products normally authorized and manufactured by the trademark holders. CBP import specialists examined samples and confirmed the items to be counterfeit.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE). If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

Florida CBP Seizes Counterfeit Sunglasses

Customs seized counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses fairly recently. According to the story itself, the sunglasses could have been seized not only because they were counterfeits, but also because the import documents falsely identified them as being something else. That’s called smuggling, among other things. This importer is in for a big penalty, equivalent to the MSRP of the counterfeit goods as if they were genuine. Here is an excerpt of the full story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Tampa seized over 860 counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses arriving in a shipment from China on July 13. Had the goods been genuine, the designer handbags [sic] would have an estimated Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $123,455.

US Customs seizure of $123,455 in counterfeit sunglasses.
US Customs seized $123,455 in counterfeit Ray-Ban sunglasses.

CBP’s highly trained officers successfully targeted and intercepted the U.S.-bound air cargo. The description for the freight was also concealed under a different commodity.

Initially, CBP officers suspected the sunglasses to be counterfeit since they did not appear to be of the quality consistent with the products normally manufactured by the trademark holder. CBP import specialists examined samples and determined the items to be counterfeit.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

U.S. Customs Seize $541,000 in Unsafe Consumer Products

When importing into the United States an importer must make sure to comply with the customs laws for classification, valuation, invoicing, etc. But they also must make sure that they’re products are not harmful or in violations of the myriad of other regulations enforced by CBP at the border; whether they be FDA, Department of Agriculture, or the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Recently, customs seized over half a million dollars in unsafe consumer products in a joint effort with the French government.

The story below:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and French Customs General Directorate announce the results of Operation Bathe and Beaute, a bilateral Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) enforcement operation targeting counterfeit personal care products and electric personal care devices. The joint operation, conducted from April 8 through May 4, resulted in the seizure of 76 shipments of more than 31,000 counterfeit items for a combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $541,000.

“Operation Bathe and Beaute reflects our ongoing efforts to interdict illegal trade in counterfeit merchandise, which threatens the competitiveness of legitimate businesses and can jeopardize consumer health and safety,” said Assistant Commissioner Brenda Smith of CBP’s Office of International Trade.

Box of counterfeit items valued at suggested MSRP of $541,000.
76 shipments of more than 31,000 counterfeit items for a combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $541,000.

“After the successful Core Systems operation in late 2013, this fourth joint operation between CBP and French Customs demonstrates once again how important it is to exchange information and act together to fight organized crime in a global world,” said François Richard, French Customs Attaché.

The four week operation focused on personal care products and devices that potentially introduce dangerous chemicals and bacteria to the skin and eyes or burning or electrocution due to non-standardized wiring and ineffectual family planning protection to the consumer. Products seized during this event included make-up, condoms, hair removal devices, contact lenses, hair curlers, straighteners and skin cleansing devices.

 

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

CBP Seizes Counterfeit Watches with $2.7M MSRP

Customs reported a seizure of over 11,000 counterfeit watches which, if real, would have a manufacturer’s suggest retail price of $2,791,250. The same law that permits Customs to seize the counterfeit watches also allows CBP to impose a penalty of up to the MSRP value of the counterfeit watches. In this case, that means the importer of these watches will be subject to a penalty of nearly $2.8 million dollars.

MIAMI – U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Office of Field Operations (OFO) officers with the Miami Seaport Trade Enforcement Team (TET) seized 11,165 counterfeit watches with an MSRP value of $2,791,250.

Counterfeit watches with an MSRP value of $2,791,250.
CBP seized 11,165 counterfeit watches with an MSRP value of $2,791,250.

The watches were being shipped from China and destined for Florida. CBP OFO officers discovered the watches in 123 cartons arriving in a shipment from China.

CBP OFO officers with the Trade Enforcement Team (TET) suspected the watches were counterfeit as the items did not appear to be of the quality consistent with the watches that are normally manufactured by the trademark holder.

Samples were submitted to CBP Import Specialists for review and determined to be counterfeit.

“Counterfeiters are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their efforts and CBP OFO officers here at the Miami Seaport take great pride in protecting Americans from low quality and unsafe products,” said Miami Seaport Port Director Diane Sabatino. “Our CBP officers consistently demonstrate their exceptional skills at identifying counterfeit goods and work well with CBP Import Specialists to protect consumers and ensure these products do not enter the commerce of the United States.”

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

CBP Seizes Fake Apparel Worth $48K from Arriving Traveler

U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized a large amount of counterfeit clothing from a traveler that was arriving from El Salvador. I guess this puts to rest my belief that it is a rare occurrence when when Customs encounters somebody who is travelling from overseas with this large of an amount of counterfeit clothing.

Typically, counterfeit importations are just subject to seizure. In other words, the ‘penalty’ is loss of the goods through government seizure and forfeiture. However, Customs can impose monetary penalties under 19 USC 1526(f) on “any person who directs, assists … aids and abets [in] the importation of merchandise for sale or public distribution” once the property is seized.

Customs may presume that the large quantities means that is must have been intended for sale or public distribution. Thus, this person may have exposed himself to a monetary penalty equal to the MSRP of the seized goods as if they were real. It could be that it was meant for public sale or distribution, or it could just be that all these articles were intended for personal use and the buyer just could not stop himself from getting a good deal. Here’s the story:

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at the George Bush Intercontinental Airport seized counterfeit Gucci, Burberry, Lacoste, Versace, Armani, Ferrari, Coco Chanel, Tory Burch and Michael Kors merchandise, May 13,

Counterfeit Clothing Seized by CBP

valued at more than $48,000.

The seized items included shirts, hats, shoes, purses and jewelry destined for Houston.

CBP officers conducted an inspection of a passenger arriving from El Salvador with checked bags. During the inspection, they discovered 161 brand-named articles that appeared to be counterfeit. The items did not appear to be of the quality consistent with legitimate goods as the items included unusual labeling and the markings on the clothing were not manufactured by the trademark holders.

Counterfeit Chanel Jewelry

“Packing hundreds of phony articles in suitcases doesn’t release passengers from their obligation to adhere to U.S. import laws and requirements,” said Houston CBP Port Director Charles Perez. “This seizure protects the trademark holder, their businesses and their employees and denies criminal organizations from reaping profits from the sale of counterfeit and illegitimate consumer goods.”

Counterfeit Chanel jewelry was among the seized items. Watches and jewelry topped the list of seized items sorted by value in fiscal year 2014.

CBP officers obtained digital images of the merchandise and forwarded them to the trademark owner to determine their authenticity. After verifying that the merchandise was counterfeit, CBP seized every item for infringement of intellectual property rights.

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles:

CBP Seizes Alleged Counterfeit Auto Parts in Florida

Here’s one of those seldom thought about counterfeit merchandise seizures: counterfeit autoparts. When you think about counterfeits you usually think about currency, clothing, watches, and things like that. You don’t typically think of auto parts being something is counterfeited. But apparently they are out there, and it happens a lot, and its dangerous. Here’s the story from Customs (full version here):

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists seized more than 3,260 counterfeit automobile parts during an inspection at Port Everglades on May 8. The manufacturer’s suggested retail price of the counterfeit products is around $280,000.

CBP, along with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), targeted the shipment as part of a joint multi-layered enforcement operation focused on interdicting illegal counterfeit automotive parts.

The seizure included over 180 different types of vehicle parts ranging from small fuses to front ends.

Counterfeit automotive parts are a safety risk as they are of inferior quality compared to the authentic product and their failure to perform to standard could cause safety issues resulting in catastrophic failure.

 

You might be facing penalties from customs for importing counterfeit merchandise. We can help. Typically, we recommended preparing and filing a petition, with the assistance of legal counsel, which argues persuasively for the substantial mitigation, or when the facts and law warrant it, cancellation of the penalty in full.

Great Lakes Customs Law has been very successful in getting these kinds of penalties reduced and, sometimes, even eliminated entirely (some history of our success is HERE).If you have had merchandise seized by customs because they allege it is counterfeit and contains trademark violations and/or have a received a notice of penalty for importing alleged counterfeits or for making an importation contrary to law, call our office at (734) 855-4999 to speak to a customs lawyer, or e-mail us through our contact page. We are able to assist petitions for customs penalties and seizures around the country, including Detroit, Chicago, Atlanta, New York, Los Angeles, Orlando and many other places. Please read these other articles: