Nearly 500 counterfeit Rolex watches were seized by U.S. Customs and Border Protection in two separate shipments within a 48-hour span late last month.
CBP announced in a news release that officers made the discovery in Indianapolis after they decided to inspect the two shipments based on intelligence gathering which noted a history of fraudulent shipments from the vendor. There were 300 fake Rolexes in the first shipment, and 160 in the other, all of which, if real, would have been valued at an estimated $10.1 million. Both were headed to a residence in Brooklyn.
U.S. Customs seized an additional shipment of counterfeit watches earlier in the month, bringing the overall valuation to $20 million.
“No one buys a luxury brand watch expecting it to fail or fall apart. As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise,” Chicago Director of Field Operations LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke said.
In 2021, CBP has seized more than 127,000 shipments with intellectual property rights violations worth over $3.3 billion, a 152 percent increase compared to 2020’s total of $1.31 billion. The agency believes pre-pandemic trading and a rise in the number of counterfeit items seized has led to this year’s figure.
“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” Jeremy Brodsky, Port Director in Indianapolis, said. “Our officers are at the frontline protecting the U.S. economy and guarding against criminals making money by selling fake merchandise.”