Capitalism is a way of American life and is the basis for our economy. This way of life is attacked when criminals flood the market with counterfeit merchandise.
On May 23, ICE announced that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigation’s agents seized nearly 1,400 counterfeit items valued at more than $400,000 from two Birmingham stores.
This investigation began in March when ICE suspected distribution of counterfeit merchandise by the Purse Party and T-Shirt Heaven. According to an ICE statement released on Tuesday, the operation was part of an on-going effort to track down those who sell counterfeit and pirated merchandise.
Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office aided ICE in this investigation. Homeland Security agents served federal search warrants at the stores on May 23 and seized the counterfeit items of numerous manufacturers, which included Louis Vuitton, Coach, Prada, Chanel, Gucci, Nike, Ray Ban, Timberland, Michael Kors, Polo, Tory Burch, True Religion and D&G. A total of 1,395 items were seized with a suggested retail price of $402,507.
Raymond R. Parmer Jr., special agent in charge of homeland security investigation (HSI) in New Orleans, said that commercial piracy and product counterfeiting undermine the U.S. economy, rob Americans of jobs, stifle American innovation and promote other types of crimes. He added that HSI will continue to use its enforcement authorities to protect jobs and the income and tax revenue that disappear when criminals and criminal organizations traffic in stolen content for their own profit.
Parmer is over HSI investigation in Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana and Tennessee. These types of investigations are coordinated through the HSI led National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center.
As well as U.S. enforcement agencies, some manufacturers also have independently gone after stores that sell fake versions of their products. Coach recently sued a Pelham store for selling fake Coach products.