How to you rank the biggest busts. By revenue, volume of sold, dollar amount of seized, or by total amount of people evolved? Here are the top 8 largest busts of counterfeits from either group. Counterfeit currency is not included.
1) 29 people arrested in $325 million counterfeit operation
U.S. authorities charged 29 people with smuggling $325 million in counterfeit consumer goodsfrom China, including phony Nike sneakers and Coach handbags, through a New Jersey port.
The bust was one of the largest counterfeiting probes in U.S. history, and it involved smuggling cigarettes, handbags and sneakers through the Port Newark-Elizabeth Marine Terminal as U.S. agents secretly watched and listened, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said. Agents infiltrated two overlapping criminal rings and lured them to use a front company run by the government.
Authorities arrested 23 people in New York, New Jersey, Texas and the Philippines. Six are at large. Most are Chinese and lived in New York. Prosecutors said they used phony paperwork to import goods in corrugated shipping containers, used distributors and wholesalers, and laundered illicit proceeds.
A fake Nike shoe that was seized
2) 1 million pairs of countefeit Nike’s, Adidas , Puma and watches
HAMBURG, Germany – German customs officers have seized what they said could be the world’s largest haul of counterfeit goods, including nearly 1 million pairs of knockoff Nike sneakers. The customs department in the northern port of Hamburg said it had confiscated a total of 117 shipping containers filled with fake goods since the end of August.
The equivalent amount of genuine branded goods would be worth about 383 million euros ($490 million), it said in a statement.
The goods included 101 containers loaded with 945,384 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers, and 10 more containers with about 105,000 pairs of fake Adidas and Puma sports shoes. Also impounded were 76,760 knockoff watches and 1,454 toys.
3) $100 million of fashion brands
Federal agents have broken up a massive counterfeit ring at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco that trafficked in fake designer goods. Nearly a dozen business owners and employees were indicted in the largest counterfeiting investigation ever conducted on the West Coast.
“These are largely high-end luxury items, high-grade counterfeits that were being sold for a fraction of their costs,” explained U.S. Customs and Immigrations Director John Morton. “We ultimately seized 200,000 individual counterfeit items representing 70 different manufacturers both foreign and domestic.”
Dooney and Burke, Coach, Rolex, Versace, Prada, Dolce and Gabana, nearly $100 million of knockoffs seized from stores at Fishermans Wharf. Eleven shop owners and store clerks were arrested. Four are Chinese nationals, two of them in the United States illegally.
4) Nearly 700 held or probed in major Asia counterfeit sweep
LYON, France–More than 660 people were arrested or put under investigation in a major police operation across 10 Asian countries that targeted criminal networks trading fake and potentially dangerous products, Interpol announced Monday.
The international police organization said security forces and border agencies in countries ranging from Cambodia and China to India and the Philippines had seized counterfeit goods worth nearly $50 million (39 million euros), including alcohol, cigarettes, cosmetics, clothing and electrical goods.