Authorities Seize $20M in Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise
Last week, we mentioned that law enforcement officials were working to limit the spread of counterfeit items on the internet through a program called “Operation Team Player.” According to Claims Journal, the program has resulted in the seizure of $20 million worth of sports-related items.
“Criminal elements use major sporting events like the Super Bowl as an opportunity to sell substandard and counterfeit goods to the American public,” Thomas D. Homan, acting ICE director, told Claims Journal. “ICE special agents are committed to collaborating with industry and law-enforcement agencies to crack down on counterfeiting that significantly impacts local economies and funnels money into organizations involved in additional illicit activities.”
During the lead-up to Super Bowl LI, the agencies identified flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors in Houston selling counterfeit apparel, jerseys, hats, cell phone accessories and more.
“The NFL is proud to continue its work with ICE, the IPR Center and law enforcement departments throughout the country to protect fans and consumers who are seeking an authentic NFL experience during the celebration of Super Bowl LI,” Dolores DiBella, vice president of legal affairs for the NFL, told Claims Journal. “Their collaborative enforcement efforts advance consumer protection goals for every industry, year-round.”
This year’s Operation Team Player program started right after last year’s Super Bowl. Assuming the authorities are continuing the program again, it will be interesting to see if the number of seizures declines by next year’s game.