By: Henrietta Fishman
Two dozen New York City Sheriff’s officers descended on Chinatown’s Canal Street last Saturday afternoon, confiscating thousands of allegedly counterfeit designer handbags, watches, belts and sunglasses, the NY Post reported.
The faux bags and accessories had a street value of $400,000, officials said. These bags and accessories would be worth around $7 million if they were the real name brands.
Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Supreme, Coach, Dior, and Michael Kors were just some of the expensive designer accessory knock offs they were selling.
While this sounds like a dramatic and giant raid, it really is a drop in the bucket.
Despite countless raids, airport interceptions, lawsuits by luxury brands and entire coalitions dedicated to curbing the production and stateside distribution of these illegal counterfeit products, like the International Anti-Counterfeit Coalition (IACC), the market is thriving and even advancing, Fashionista blog explained.
Fakes are getting more realistic. While distinguishing a fake from a real handbag used to be a straightforward and easily Google-able process, there’s been an explosion of what some are calling “super fakes,” “Triple-A fakes” or “line-for-lines” over the past five or so years. To the untrained eye, they look like the real thing, Fashionista reported.
About 15 minutes before the raid, a man who appeared to be a “spotter” for the vendors noticed a marked police car pulling up at Canal and Broadway.
The spotter pointed to the police car, and shouted to the nearby sidewalk vendors, “They’re here!”
Vendors moved quickly to cover up their goods, gathering piles of bags, belts, handbags and other accessories, the Post reported.
In August a major bust on knock-offs was conducted at NY/NJ Ports.
More than two dozen people were arrested in connection with one of the largest counterfeit goods busts in New York City history, a scheme that generated nearly half a billion dollars in the sale of fake luxury items ranging from knockoff Vuitton bags to Chanel perfume, federal officials told NBC News in August.
Twenty-two people have been charged in the case and 11 others were arrested in a separate warrant. Officials say they used 40-foot shipping containers to smuggle Chinese-manufactured items — including fake Louis Vuitton and Tory Burch handbags, Michael Kors wallets, Hermes belts and Chanel perfume — into the U.S., primarily through the Port of New York/New Jersey NBC reported in August.
To get the fakes into the country, prosecutors say the “importers” used the names, addresses and other identifying information of legitimate companies and faked the descriptions of the containers’ contents on customs paperwork. The counterfeit goods were then taken by trucks to self-storage facilities in Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island, where they were unloaded and stored, NBC reported.
This latest bust in China Town is just one of many more which will continue to occur as the fake designer accessory business continues to boom.