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$5.8M in Fake Rolexes Seized in Cincinnati

They came from a plastic goods company in Hong Kong, authorities said.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection assigned to the Port of Cincinnati have seized 85 watches deemed to be counterfeit.

All of them displayed the Rolex trademark, according to a press release from the agency. Had they been real, the total retail value would have been over $5.8 million.

The watches originated from a plastic goods company in Hong Kong, transited through a freight forwarder in Saudi Arabia, and were ultimately destined to an apartment in New York City, according to the release.

“Sold in underground outlets and on third party e-commerce websites, counterfeit commodities fund smugglers and members of organized crime,” the release states. “Consumers often believe they are buying a genuine product but soon realize the item is substandard and potentially dangerous.”

Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie said: “Consumers should be aware that if a known high-value brand is being offered for an unusually low price, it could very well be fake. CBP encourages the use of reputable vendors for your valuable purchases. Our officers are dedicated to preventing counterfeiters from defrauding consumers and legitimate businesses.”

On a typical day in fiscal 2019, CBP officers seized $4.3 million worth of products with intellectual property rights violations, according to the release. Watches and jewelry accounted for the largest portion of these totals at about 15 percent. Eighty-three percent of all counterfeit seizures originated in China and Hong Kong.

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Nationwide in fiscal 2020, CBP seized 26,503 shipments containing goods that violated intellectual property rights. The total estimated value of the seized goods, had they been genuine, was nearly $1.3 billion.

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