10 biggest counterfeit good seizures

Fake sneakers worth $32 million were seized in Chile last year. That’s only the fifth most expensive fake goods racket.

Meryl D'Souza January 5, 2017

Europe’s fashion industry loses 10% of its annual sales to knockoffs. And while the general consensus may be that the majority of these sales are from counterfeit handbags, watches, and jewellery, it is sneakers that lead the way when it comes to fake goods.

According to a study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Nike gets copied more than any other brand in the world. The report states that counterfeits had a total value of $461 billion in 2013, which is about the same as the illegal drug trade.

Most recently, a container full of a whopping 16,454 pairs of fake sneakers was seized in Chile in November. The haul of illegitimate shoes – a mix of sneaker designs by Adidas and Nike – originated in China and was valued at a whopping $32 million, making it the fifth most expensive counterfeit seizure. Here are the top 10:

Year: 2012
Value of seized goods: $18 million
Customs at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport complex seized more than 20,000 pairs of fake Christian Louboutin shoes that arrived from China.
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Year: 2009
Value of seized goods: $20 million
Six knockoff product dealers were arrested after cops found more than 100,000 pieces of counterfeit goods including fake Nike sneakers with Barack Obama’s face on them and 123 storage bins filled with fake Prada and Coach handbags.
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Year: 2014
Value of seized goods: $22 million
Authorities from the Bureau of Customs seized fake designer bags worth $22 million during a raid of eight warehouses in Manila, Philippines. The warehouses were creating imitations of bags from high-end labels, such as Hermès, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, and Burberry.
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Year: 2014
Value of seized goods: $27 million
Britain’s largest-ever fake goods racket was run by Nirmon Grover and Ajit Arura who were arrested and sentenced to prison after a five-year investigation. A raid at the duo’s Alperton storage unit found 34,100 pairs of Nike trainers and Ugg boots, as well as Louis Vuitton bags, designer fragrances, headphones and fake Rolexes and Breitling watches
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Year: 2012
Value of seized goods: $28.7 million
US Customs officials seized over 1,000 fake Audemars Piguet watches – which were interspersed with 3,080 genuine Audemars Piguet pieces to hide the fakes – at the Laredo, Texas border crossing.
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Year: 2014
Value of seized goods: $30 million
The largest counterfeit bust in Massachusetts was a raid on Lawrence Flea in Massachusetts that sold various counterfeits of Michael Kors, Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Ugg.
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Year: 2012
Value of seized goods: 47.3 million
As part of a two-and-a-half-year investigation, authorities seized nearly 220,000 counterfeit items including clothing, shoes, jewellery, handbags, DVDs, CDs, perfume, makeup and other personal care items at the Patapsco Flea Market in Baltimore.
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Year: 2010
Value of seized goods: $100 million
US Federal agents busted a counterfeit ring at San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf that had over 200,000 items representing 70 different manufacturers.
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Year: 2014
Value of seized goods: $163 million
Police in Guangzhou City of southern China’s Guangdong Province uncovered a criminal group that manufactured counterfeit Louis Vuitton bags.
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Year: 2006
Value of seized goods: $490 million
German customs officers seized 945,384 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers and 105,000 fake Adidas and Puma kicks being shipped from China to Italy, Austria, and Hungary.
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