US Police seize counterfeit gods worth $26 million

January 2010

Merchandising, record labels

The partners of the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center), state and local law enforcement and the Government of Mexico announced the seizures of millions of dollars of counterfeit products in Operation Holiday Hoax, a week of joint law enforcement activities targeting counterfeiters and trademark pirates, their distributors, associates, shippers, warehouses, salesmen and vendors in the United States and Mexico. More than 708,250 products were seized in 41 locations around the United States. Seven persons were arrested and charged in New York and Texas. Mexico seized 255 tons of counterfeit products during parallel operations.

In Houston, more than 33,000 items were seized with an estimated value at more than $4.3 million. During Operation Holiday Hoax, which ran from December 8th 2009 to December 13th, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents and other federal agents and officers in 41 U.S. cities worked in partnership with local law enforcement agencies targeting small businesses, stores, swap meets, flea markets, shippers and vendors involved in the distribution of counterfeit products.  The items seized included counterfeit Christmas ornaments, toys, DVDs, CDs, clothing, footwear, handbags, sports clothing, perfume, stationery, cosmetics, hygiene products, electronics, phones and pharmaceuticals. Early estimates of the worth of the products seized put the combined manufacturer’s suggested retail price at more than $26 million.

“Working together, key federal law enforcement agencies and the entertainment industry have struck a real blow to the illegal trafficking of pirated and counterfeit goods during the important holiday season,” said Mitch Bainwol, chairman and CEO, Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).  “It’s unfortunately an often lucrative ‘business’ that is the breeding ground for other dangerous criminal activity and it undermines our ability to invest in the new bands of tomorrow.  It also takes money directly out of the pocket of working musicians, songwriters and many others who work countless hours to create great music and bring it to the public.  We’re grateful for the hard work and dedication of federal agents we worked closely with on this important initiative.” Dan Glickman, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), said “More than 2.4 million American jobs are supported by the movie and television industry alone. Each of the pirated DVDs shown here today – represents a theft, not just from the motion picture studios, but from the hard earned wages of these men and women working in all 50 states of our union.  In these difficult economic times, that is a price our workers, our industry, and indeed, our nation cannot afford. So we applaud the law enforcement agencies here today for their commitment and dedication to our common struggle,”

For the Intellectual Property Rights Seizure Statistics for 2009, go to
Report information on counterfeiting and trademark violations at (866) IPR-2060

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