Customs and border officers seized and destroyed some 34,143 shipments containing counterfeit items in the 2017 fiscal year. The largest counterfeiter is China. Thousands of shipments of counterfeit goods went undetected and made it into the United States.
The CBP seized 8.2% more shipments of counterfeit goods in 2017 compared to the year before, when it seized 31,560 shipments. However, the value of the counterfeit items seized was considerably less, dropping from $1.38 billion in 2016 to $1.21 billion in 2017.
Counterfeit items are almost all luxury goods like watches, jewelry, electronics, and accessories. People are often duped into buying counterfeit versions of name brand goods when they see a deal that seems too good to be true. Some bogus items can actually be dangerous.
Pharmaceuticals are among the most counterfeited items. Counterfeit medicine can often contain incorrect dosages or even completely lack the active ingredient that makes the genuine drug effective. In the past, automobile parts have ranked among the most counterfeited items. These fabricated car parts often do not meet the safety standards that regulated and inspected products must adhere to, leading to unsafe conditions on the road.
Consumer electronics are essentially any electronic device intended for personal or home use, including phones and TVs, kitchen appliances, or grooming products. Many American homes have several such products, so consumer electronics is a big market for counterfeiters. Officials reported 4,137 seizures of counterfeit consumer electronics in 2017. More than 1,300 of those seizures came during a joint operation between CBP and the General Administration of China Customs. In total, counterfeit consumer electronics seized in 2017 would have been worth more than $85 million if genuine.
> FY 2017 seizures: 4,137
> Pct. of total seizures: 12.1%
> Value of seized goods: $85,115,639
Under the False Claims Act, an individual with unique information may come forward to file a claim on behalf of the Government for the importation of counterfeit goods. The government may collect three times and more the value of those goods from the wrongdoers and their companies in the U.S. and the whistleblowers may collect up to one-third of what the government collects. Due to the significant increase in counterfeit products being shipped illegally into the US, the number of whistleblower cases revealing this damaging fraud is also expected to spike. If you are aware of shipments of counterfeit goods, contact attorney Newman at 617-823-3217 or 1-800-682-7157 . or send an email to him through the company website at www.jeffreynewmanlaw.com.