$16 million in fake luxury goods seized from Georgia entrepreneurs after customs sting

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted two shipments of various counterfeit luxury goods recently that led local investigators to an illegal Georgia operation worth nearly $16 million if the inventory had been genuine.

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According to a news release, Georgia’s Gwinnett County Police Department tipped off CBP officers in Memphis, Tennessee, to suspect shipments arriving Sept. 28, 2021, en route from Chihuahua, Mexico, to a residence in Lawrenceville, Georgia.

The first seized shipment contained the following knock-off merchandise:

  • 19 Rolex Submariner watches
  • 15 Rolex Yacht Master watches
  • 10 Rolex Sky Dweller watches
  • 10 Rolex Date Just watches
  • 3 Rolex Daytona watches
  • 2 Rolex Oyster Perpetual watches
  • 5 Chanel sunglasses
  • 2 Versace sunglasses
  • 1 Louis Vuitton duffel bag

Meanwhile, the second seized shipment contained 20 Louis Vuitton tote bags, and the combined value of both shipments, had the merchandise been authentic, totaled nearly $1.1 million, the agency stated.

The fake items were then turned over to Homeland Security Investigations, who continued their coordinated efforts with Gwinnett County authorities, resulting in the Nov. 18, 2021, seizure of more than 9,000 counterfeit items from a Lawrenceville business named Real Moda. The operation’s inventory would have been worth more than $15.8 million had it been genuine, the news release stated.

The three-month investigation resulted in the arrests of a 31-year-old woman and a 33-year-old man, both from Lawrenceville, on possession and sale of goods breaking a counterfeit trademark charges.

“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,” Memphis Area Port Director Michael Neipert stated.

In addition to selling the fake merchandise at Real Moda, the man and woman arrested were also selling knock-off Louis Vuitton, Christian Dior and Gucci handbags; Rolex watches; and Chanel and Versace sunglasses on Facebook, the agency stated.

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