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Operation Holiday Hoax

Posted in Crime Prevention December 15th, 2009 @ 10:27 am

During the holiday season, everyone is looking for “good deals” on name brand products. However, some of those “good deals” may be fakes. DVDs, Gucci purses, sports jerseys, Donna Karan perfume, Louis Vuitton purses, Calvin Klein clothing, Air Jordan shoes and even batteries can be counterfeit products.

According to a Star Tribune article, shoddy copies of your favorite presents, many from China, may be selling to you at one-third the price. As a result, Federal agents have taken down counterfeiters in the Minnesota area. The sting hit Minnesota vendors for the second time just before Thanksgiving.

Officials with the local office of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have seized items with a street value of $136,000, but would be worth more than $450,000 if they were genuine and had been sold at the manufacturers’ suggested retail price. A similar operation before Thanksgiving seized more than 17,000 counterfeit items at 21 metro area stores. The latest initiative seized more than 708,000 items in 41 locations across the U.S. in the past week. Recently, local agents seized nearly 22,000 bogus goods at 12 businesses in Minneapolis and St. Cloud. In all, the national sting netted items such as ornaments, toys, clothing and perfume with a retail value of more than $26 million.

John Morton, assistant secretary for ICE recently said, “This is the season these criminals lure in unwitting holiday shoppers and sell them substandard and sometimes dangerous goods. Besides putting a dent in the criminals’ holiday profits, we are getting out the word to consumers that counterfeits are everywhere.”

More stings are planned during the rest of the holiday season.

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