Knockoff sneakers are big business — except if you get caught.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Port of Newark and New York seized more than 9,000 pairs of counterfeit Nike sneakers on their way to California. The shoes, if authentic, would have a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,695,600.
The shipment was intercepted in September en route to an address in Chino, Calif., from Dongguan City, China, and CBP says that agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement are continuing to investigate the case.
It won’t be the first time the agency is looking into Nike counterfeiters: In August, it charged five Queens, N.Y., residents with conspiring to traffic in more than $70 million worth of Air Jordans, charges that have a maximum prison sentence of 20 years each.
Of the most recent seizure, Troy Miller, director of CBP’s New York field office, said in a statement: “This significant seizure of counterfeit Nike sneakers illustrates Customs and Border Protection’s continued commitment to protecting the American consumer against the proliferation of substandard and potentially unsafe counterfeit consumer goods. Enforcing intellectual property rights laws is a CBP priority trade mission. We will continue to work closely with our trade and law enforcement partners to identify and seize counterfeit merchandise that could potentially harm U.S. consumers and businesses.”
In 2017, CBP officers seized an average of $3.3 million worth of goods per day that violated intellectual property rights, amounting to a total MSRP of $1.2 billion.
This year, the public got a better look at the knockoff sneaker industry, thanks to Instagram video showing the production line for fake Off-White x Nike Blazer and Nike Air VaporMax sneakers, as well as a Vice News Tonight and HBO report from the “fake sneaker capital of China”, where journalists interviewed a seller who said he makes more than $100,000 per month peddling counterfeit kicks.