Just when you thought the saga of counterfeit Uggs couldn’t get any uglier, it did. This week, US Customs officials shut down a complex plan between two criminal networks that had planned to sell some $325 million worth of counterfeit Uggs and other fake fashion items in the United States.
The New York Times reports that federal agents arrested nearly 30 people, most of them Chinese, in the US and the Philippines this week, and charged them with smuggling counterfeit goods into the US. Customs officials allege that those involved with the case were able to successfully sneak the goods into the country by using the names of honest shipping companies on customs forms. As a result, once the goods were in the country, some of them were distributed to people who didn’t even know they were getting fake merchandise.
“These people exploited our borders by stealing legitimate identities of companies, whose names were essentially hijacked,” said James A. Dinkins, associate director of Homeland Security Investigations. “Today it could be counterfeit goods; tomorrow it could be something more dangerous.”
The Uggs were just the tip of the iceberg in this case. The same men who imported them were also sneaking replicas of bags from Coach, Gucci, Burberry and Louis Vuitton into the country, as well as fake Nike footwear. Officials say they also discovered a plan to import and sell 50 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine — that being the “something more dangerous” Dinkins was referring to.
All in a day’s work. Read more about the big bust here.