$25 Million Counterfeit Goods Ring Busted In NY-NJ

If you live in the NYC area, one thing you probably won’t be spending your stimulus check on now is a pair of shiny new fake Nikes—or ersatz Louis Vuittons, packs of imitation Duracell batteries, or faux-Timberland boots. Police raided three warehouses in Long Island, Queens, and New Jersey yesterday and seized $25 million worth of counterfeit goods (including 20,000 Nike knock-offs) that they suspect were imported from China, as well as “printing and other equipment used to make and stamp fake logos on the items.”

The authorities said they believed the goods were sold at flea markets, street fairs and other places in the region. They added that they were still investigating the operation, which they said they believed had links to China. The police said they seized records of money transferred to banks in China.

“Police Seize Fake Goods Worth Millions” [The New York Times]
(Photo: Tet_Sy)

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  1. ByeBye says:

    Just in NY-NJ? How about they crack down on malls across america?

  2. LetMeGetTheManager says:

    I’ve been to some of those flea markets in Central Jersey, when some of those $500 retail items sell for $5, you know something is up…either that or they are having a 99% off sale.

  3. mdoublej says:

    TimberLAND boots I’m guessing, though Timberlakes would probably help me dance better.

  4. ViperBorg says:

    @LetMeGetTheManager: I like those 99% off sales!

  5. adambadam says:

    How do they calculate the $25 million? My guess is that they inflate that number to what the goods would cost if they were sold like their real counterparts.

  6. I want some Timberlake boots!

  7. unklegwar says:

    The REAL ones are imported from China. What’s the difference?
    And I think it’s TIMBERLAND not TIMBERLAKE. TIMBERLAKE is a fruity singer.

  8. @mdoublej: I can totally imagine counterfeit Timberlands being sold as “Timberlakes.” I once saw a fake Coach bag labeled “Couch,” so I guess it’s really not that much of a stretch…

  9. Spamwich says:

    I don’t really see how this is a huge problem. I don’t think customers are getting screwed because they have to know they are fake if they are at a flea market, and if you’re shopping at a flea market you probably aren’t stealing business from Louis Vuitton.

  10. Spamwich says:

    @PoopsieDoodle: I can see that too, I think I had a pair of “Oakey” sunglasses once :)

  11. CRNewsom says:

    As long as they didn’t raid the Faulexes, I’ll be ok.

  12. m4ximusprim3 says:

    Timberlake boots are specifically designed for wading thorough the massive piles of shit he produces.

    I wonder how many policemen’s wives will be walking around with faux prada sunglesses and louis vitton bags tomorrow :)

  13. squablow says:

    @LetMeGetTheManager: If they can make a basically identical product and market it for $5 and still cut a profit, what does that say about the value of the “genuine article” product?

    It’s amazing what the name on the box means to the price. I think if China were making fake Mercedes Benz’s you’d be able to tell the difference pretty fast.

    Still great that they were busted though. No copywright laws in China, so all the fault is on the distributor me thinks.

  14. BigElectricCat says:

    Swap-Meet Louie!

  15. homerjay says:

    a counterfeit jeans ring operating out of my carhole!

  16. startertan says:

    Marge, sell the jeans and live like a queen!!!

  17. bjarmson says:

    It’s great the authorities are protecting the upscale-brand marketplace. Now if they can just do the same for all the poison food, drugs, etc that are being imported, that would be nice.

  18. Riddler says:

    As a teenager, I purchased a Charlotte Hornet shirt and hat from a non-chain retail fashion store. I was young and dumb and didn’t look carefully. When I got home I noticed that the hat spelled Charlotte: C-H-A-R-L-O-E-T-T-E. Also, the shirt had the “Starter” brand logo on the sleeve, but the tag said Hanes.

  19. boss_lady says:

    Now where will I get a “Coacci” bag?

  20. bohemian says:

    I was standing in line at Sam’s Club behind this hispanic guy who really thought he had his groove on or something. He was dressed in rather loud athletic wear. Then I notice that the 2in high letters embroidered on the back of his warm up jacket said A-D-I-D-D-A-S.

    Gotta love flea market clothes!

  21. parad0x360 says:

    lol my girlfriend went to NYC 2 weeks ago and got two “Coach” pocketbooks for $20 each. Of course she knew they were fake but she couldnt resist. Good thing she went then cause now chances are they are gone.

  22. maevro says:

    I work right by Canal St and the cops have been working overtime making busts over the past few weeks. They are greedy, when I used to buy fake stuff they were DL about it but now they break out bags in the middle of the street and deserve to get caught.

    There was a PBS special on last night all about fake goods and everyone they effect. It was called ‘Illicit’ and you should check it out if you can.

  23. JackHandey says:

    In the pic it looks like someone made a handbag out of The Cheat!

  24. spinachdip says:

    @squablow: A couple of problems with this. Counterfeit items might be identical, but rarely of the same quality as the genuine article (and high end designer items do tend to have better worksmanship). So if it *looks* the same but is of substandard quality, then it devalues the genuine brand.

    And even if it was of the same quality, when you buy a designer good, you’re not just paying for the physical item, but the product development and deisgn that went into it, just as when you buy a DVD, you’re not paying just for the disc and the packaging, you’re also paying for the script writing, acting, costume design, set design, etc.

  25. iMe2 says:

    So…police “seized $25 million worth of counterfeit goods (including 20,000 Nike knock-offs) that they suspect were imported from China”…and these are knock-offs how? Oh right, the swoosh is a magical talisman that makes ordinary clothes sell for double their normal retail value, and hence its copyright holder should be protected. Why human nature, why?

  26. midwestkel says:

    @spinachdip: Where are you hearing about the substandard quality if it is coming from China in the first place and these knockoffs are also coming from china whats the difference? I am guessing the people that make these knockoffs are using the same material to make the genuine items.

  27. The Porkchop Express says:

    @spinachdip: You’re still paying too much for the designer stuff especially since I believe I read on here somewhere that they still may make them in the same places as the fake stuff.

    The worst part about the knock-offs is that they often employ kids to make them in shitty factories overseas…that and that it inspired a movie with Jean Claude Van-Damme and Rob Schnieder.

  28. Parting says:

    @midwestkel: So tell me is this worth 300$ price difference for a designer’s kids t-shirt? (yes you heard right : t-shirt)

    Those ”designers” have a higher profit margin. And nowadays most of their CRAP is made in CHINA anyway.

    (Not that I condone knockoff goods, but I just can’t stand designer’s advertisements, when I possess insiders information on how things really made and cost. When you know the truth…)

  29. Captaffy says:

    Sometimes the knock-offs are made in the very same factories, with the very same materials. Really makes you think about the value of the brand.

  30. spinachdip says:

    @midwestkel: @Lo-Pan: My second points addresses outsourced production. When you buy designer goods, shit, any product for that matter, you’re not just paying for the physical item.

    If you want some fun reading, look up articles about Big Bertha knockoffs made in China using stolen clubhead molds.

  31. ptkdude says:

    @unklegwar: What’s with the frequent derogatory comments about gay people on this site? It’s getting old.

  32. ptkdude says:

    @ptkdude: And I’m not implying or suggesting that Justin Timberlake is gay, btw. I have no idea (nor do I care) if he is or isn’t.

  33. The Porkchop Express says:

    @spinachdip: The point I was more going for is that the name isn’t worth it either.

    Too much mark up no matter who designed them. These are all things that are going to fall apart.

    Why is that my wife has shoes that cost 3-5 times more than my work boots and my boots will last 10 times longer, and get worn a lot more? because these things are still crap they just have some fancy name on them.

    Knock offs are still bad, don’t get me wrong. I’m all for these designers making money, I just hate that people buy the idea.

  34. Angryrider says:

    You think that’s going to stop them. On another block, they still sell this CRAP even after the cops closed shop!

  35. squablow says:

    @spinachdip:

    You do make a couple valid points there.

    I guess my thoughts are (as far as manufacturing goes) I’m guessing that a lot of this “fake” stuff is made at the same manufacturers as the “real” stuff (as was mentioned above).

    As far as the intellectual rights, I agree it’s bullshit if someone is stealing someone else’s patents to make a product and not paying for it. Or even copywritten logos and trademarks (even if they’re purposely misspelled)

    But I don’t think you can get a patent or a copyright on making hideous plastic handbags or running shoes.

    Some stuff is nearly impossible to counterfit because it’s value is in it’s high quality, usefulness and complexity. No one would be able to pass off a counterfit Bridgeport lathe or Miller Aerowave welder. I don’t see that being the case on a $500 handbag with someone’s name on it.

    I guess my point is that if it’s that simple to make a convincing fake then the original product was probably overpriced in the first place.

  36. squablow says:

    Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3?

  37. nutrigm says:

    Well good job! I can appreciate the pain the copyright holders must be feeling!

  38. spinachdip says:

    @squablow: I find that in really well designed goods, the value and the work isn’t so much in reinventing the wheel, but in figuring out what to leave out and how to simplify. If you look at industrial design, gadgets that stand out tend to have clean, stripped-down form factors. In that sense, the argument that an item is overvalued if it’s easily replicated doesn’t hold.

    I won’t spend much time on build quality luxury items where I admit I don’t have that much expertise on, but the difference in quality tends to be more in the details, like stitching and liner materials, that aren’t readily noticeable to the naked eye. Obviously, that varies from brand to brand, but really, really good stuff’s still handmade in Italy or France.

    Also, some counterfeiting is outright theft. If you go to Ebay, you can buy Big Berthas knockoffs made by Chinese factories in the same town as the Callaway outsourcees, because once you steal the molds, you can create an exact replica.

  39. @m4ximusprim3: And don’t forget the Mark Jacob’s bags (I saw this on the wall of a shop that sold fake bags).

    @ptkdude: I think someone got out of jr. high early today, hence the jackassy comments he’s making.

  40. Buran says:

    @Angryrider: From what I hear, that’s typical. They’ll be back in a day or two. The cops go around occasionally so they can claim they’re doing something, but it’s really like whack-a-mole.

  41. As some have said the ‘fakes’ (or at least the good ones) are typically made in the same factory at the same time as the real ones – sometimes they just have a small defect, sometimes they don’t. Anyway, the factory workers take them home (the defective ones are just going to get pitched, anyway) and sell them to these international distributors. I think I remember that there’s no such thing as copyright infringement in China (or much of SE Asia) so they can’t bust them until they get here.

  42. adamcz says:

    There are some very legitimate reasons why the intellectual property owner should be allowed to charge more.

    -They need to recoup the marketing costs which caused the brand to be “in demand” in the first place. Why should someone else get to benefit from that?

    -In many cases they pay for labor in developed countries, and obviously will need to charge more than someone who uses slave labor.

    -It’s intellectual property in the same way that a DVD is. If I can burn a copy of a DVD for $1, does that mean the real $15 version is a poor value? I’m sure some kids with no job will say “of course,” but the movie cost $100+ million to create, and the studio needs to make some money on it. If there wasn’t money to be made, nobody would spend 9 figures creating the stuff.

    Likewise if there wasn’t serious money to be made in fashion, people wouldn’t invest millions in creating new styles and brand names.

  43. GrandizerGo says:

    For people claiming that the counterfeits are just as good as the real ones because they are made in China like the real ones….

    Nice run on sentence…

    Really ridiculous statement…
    Most of the items are made in the same factory, BUT NOT WITH the same material!!!
    Hence why you see misspellings, uneven colors and misaligned color registrations and other sure signs of it being FAKE.
    The stuff you pay BIG money for USES HAND PICKED or HIGHER QUALITY material to start with!

  44. lethaltoothpaste says:

    Fake purses are NOT made with the same material.

    Its as if some of you people have never seen a fake purse before. The lettering is always off, especially for Coach, Louis Vuitton and Gucci bags. Colors are usually a shade lighter or darker, and the leather/canvas that’s used is horrible quality.

    You can tell in the details: stitching thats already coming apart and off zippers.

    Counterfeits degrade the luxury aspect of the product. If some seedy poor lady is carrying around a $700 “Louis Vuitton Speedy”, then the image of Louis Vuitton as expensive is gone. To be honest, I used to think those purses were cheap when I was little because I saw so many people using them at the mall.