Over $1.2 million worth of fake luxury watches were seized at the Los Angeles International Airport over the span of several weeks.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers assigned to LAX seized a total of 41 counterfeit watches “bearing luxury trademarks” over a five-week period from April 12 to May 22.
“If genuine, the seized watches would have had an estimated manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,294,500,” authorities said.
The counterfeit goods arrived through individual packages via air cargo from China to destinations across the U.S.
In what authorities say was an attempt to evade detection by officers, the watches were falsely declared as “bracelet,” “belt,” “decoration,” “watch box,” and “wall clock.”
Among the confiscated watches, authorities found 37 counterfeit Rolexes, one Luminor Panerai, one Patek Philippe, one Audemars Piguet and one Omega watch.
“There are thousands of private sellers, collectors, and other non-legitimate sources offering luxury watches on e-commerce platforms making it extremely difficult for consumers to spot these fakes,” said Carlos C. Martel, CBP Director of Field Operations in L.A.
Authorities advise against purchasing counterfeit goods for a number of reasons including the potential of being exposed to internet security risks while compromising personal data and financial information during a purchase.
“While it may seem innocent, the money you spend on counterfeit products often funds criminal activity, from forced labor, human and drug trafficking, to violent crime,” officials said.
Counterfeit products may often use cheaper materials that could cause skin allergic reactions. The overall durability and craftsmanship are generally poorer than authentic goods as well.
“The bottom line is that importing, selling and buying counterfeit goods is illegal,” said Cheryl Davies, CBP Port Director at LAX.
“Consumers should know that buying fake watches is never a good idea,” said Martel. “Don’t waste your money.”