Largest counterfeit bust in US history nets $1 billion in knockoffs

From handbags to clothing, shoes and even sunglasses, federal authorities say they seized more than $1 billion worth of counterfeit luxury products in New York, making it the largest seizure of counterfeit goods in U.S. history.

Adama Sow and Abdulai Jalloh were arrested on Wednesday and indicted for allegedly trafficking counterfeit goods. 

“The defendants used a Manhattan storage facility as a distribution center for massive amounts of knockoff designer goods,” said U.S. Attorney Damian Williams. 

Pictures from the Department of Justice show hundreds of handbags that resemble those from luxury fashion brands, including Louis Vuitton and Gucci. 

Another picture shows dozens of large shipping boxes that the DOJ said are filled with the counterfeit items. In all, the DOJ says it seized 219,000 items. 

Department of Justice

It’s unclear where the shipments originated. However, U.S. Customs and Border Protection says most counterfeit items come from China, followed by Turkey. 

“The trafficking of counterfeit goods is anything but a victimless crime because it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers,”said Commissioner Edward A. Caban of the New York Police Department. 

Sow and Jalloh are facing maximum sentences of 10 years in prison if they are convicted on the trafficking charges.