Fake Rolexes, Louis Vuitton and Chanel: Seizure in Memphis leads to $16M counterfeit operation

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two shipments that were intercepted in September by the U.S. Customers and Border Protection Services in Memphis were just the tip of the iceberg in a multi-million dollar counterfeit operation, the department said.

CBP in Memphis said Gwinnett County, Georgia Police tipped them off about two shipments coming through Memphis.

When CBP officers in Memphis took a look at the shipments, they said they found loads of fake luxury goods; 59 total fake Rolex watches, 5 pairs of fake Chanel sunglasses, 2 pairs of fake Versace sunglasses and 1 fake Louis Vuitton Duffle Bag were found in one shipment. The other shipment revealed 20 fake Louis Vuitton tote bags, the agency said.

If the merchandise had been real, CBP said all the goods would have been worth $1,066,207.

The shipments were just passing through Memphis, the agency said, on their way from the Mexican state of Chihuahua to a residence in Lawrenceville, GA.

The fake designer items were turned over to Homeland Security who began working with the police in Gwinnett County, GA.

Less than a month later, authorities said they seized 9,000 counterfeit items from a business name Real Moda in Lawrenceville, GA, totaling $15,800,000 in counterfeit merchandise.

“Counterfeit goods are poor quality products that cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year while robbing our country of jobs and tax revenues,” said Michael Neipert, Memphis Area Port Director, in a press release. “According to the arrested sellers, their customers knew they were buying counterfeits, which is maddening. Why would you want to walk around with a fake $18 Louis Vuitton tote, $1,522 cheaper than an original. That’s uncouth. It diminishes the original product.”