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CBP tackles fake sports championship ring shipment

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Philadelphia discovered the counterfeit rings potentially valued at $562,000, if genuine, in an express shipment manifested as a “box” valued at $14.

These 11 counterfeit sports championship rings were seized by CBP officers at an express carrier facility in Philadelphia on Nov. 7. [Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection]

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers in Philadelphia have seized a shipment of 11 counterfeit sports championship rings in a package from China, the agency announced on Nov. 14.

The shipment, which was shipped by express carrier from China on Oct. 15 and was manifested as a “box” with a value of $14, was destined to address in Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania.

CBP discovered and detained the shipment on Nov. 7. The agency did not publicly identify the express carrier facility in Philadelphia that received the shipment.

Among the faked rings were counterfeit Patriot Super Bowl championship rings, a single Houston Astros and New York Yankees World Series rings with a manufacturer suggested retail price of $562,000, if authentic, CBP said in a statement.

This counterfeit New England Patriots Super Bowl ring was among the 11 rings seized by CBP officers in Philadelphia. [Photo Credit: U.S. Customs and Border Protection]

The CBP officers worked with their counterparts at the Consumer Products and Mass Merchandising Centers for Excellence and Expertise in Atlanta, other agency trade experts, and confirmed with the leagues’ and team trademark holders that the rings were fake.

“Scammers and transnational criminal organizations take advantage of collectors and sports fans who desire to obtain a piece of sports history to line their pockets with illicit financial gains,” said Casey Durst, CBP’s director of field operations in the Baltimore field office, in a statement.

CBP noted that the faked sports championship rings arrived in Philadelphia on the eve of an important game for the Philadelphia Eagles football team against the reigning Super Bowl champion New England Patriots.

“The common person who’s importing counterfeit sports goods often tends to be the guy next door,” CBP spokesman Steve Sapp told American Shipper. “But we do often see bulk imports of counterfeit consumer goods and we work with our law enforcement partners to seize those potentially dangerous products and hold importers accountable.”

CBP said on a “typical day” last year its officers seized $3.7 million of products with intellectual property rights violations. A total of 33,810 counterfeit seizures were made by CBP during fiscal year 2018, which if they had been genuine would have been worth $1.4 billion. 

Chris Gillis

Located in the Washington, D.C. area, Chris Gillis primarily reports on regulatory and legislative topics that impact cross-border trade. He joined American Shipper in 1994, shortly after graduating from Mount St. Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md., with a degree in international business and economics.