U.S. Customs and Border Protection has seized multiple express shipments of counterfeit jewelry in Louisville, Kentucky, since mid-July.
The agency said the trademark-infringing jewelry had a collective value of more than $90 million if genuine.
The first three shipments of faked jewelry were seized between July 17 and 31, with a value of $42 million, and led to the arrest of North Carolina pastor JianGang “Frank” Lin. Upon his arrest, he was found with more than 3,200 fake Cartier bracelets.
On Aug. 2, Lan was charged with a felony criminal use of a counterfeit trademark and is being held under a $25,000 bond in the Orange County Jail in North Carolina.
CBP in Louisville seized another five shipments of counterfeit jewelry between Sept. 9 and 17, which had a value of $48 million if genuine.
The agency warned consumers about the potential health hazards associated with fake jewelry.
“Seizures, like these, will ensure inferior, often dangerous goods do not fall into the hands of everyday Americans,” said Thomas Mahn Jr., CBP’s Louisville port director, in a press release. “Counterfeit jewelry is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials unbeknownst to the buyer.”
In 2017 CBP created an educational initiative, called Truth Behind Counterfeits, at U.S. airports and online to raise consumer awareness about the consequences and dangers that can be associated with purchases of counterfeit and pirated goods.
The agency said on a “typical day” during 2018 that its officers seized $3.7 million worth of products with intellectual property rights violations.