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Cincinnati Customs seizes fake MLB, NASCAR championship rings and Lombardi trophies

Fake University of Kentucky sports and NASCAR championship rings plus counterfeit Vince...
Fake University of Kentucky sports and NASCAR championship rings plus counterfeit Vince Lombardi trophies were among the goods by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Cincinnati.(Provided to our business partners at Cincinnati Enquirer by U.S. Customs and Border Protection)
Published: Jan. 8, 2022 at 3:42 PM EST
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CINCINNATI (Cincinnati Enquirer) - Customs agents say they found fake University of Kentucky and NASCAR championship rings and counterfeit Vince Lombardi trophies in shipments seized in Cincinnati during the past three months.

Fake LA Dodgers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Red Sox World Series championship rings also were found among more than 1,300 counterfeit rings and trophies confiscated in the Queen City from October through December.

A news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection said agents intercepted 56 shipments containing a total of 1,382 fake sports memorabilia – mostly championship rings – that would have been worth $982,263 if genuine.

The shipments stopped in Cincinnati originated from China and were destined to residences throughout the United States, the release said.

Customs officials said third-party retailers figure the counterfeit championship rings and trophies can be a fan favorite during the holiday gift-giving season.

“Part of (Customs’) mission is to protect American consumers from purchasing these counterfeit products,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, director of Customs’ field operations in Chicago, said in the news release.

“This seizure illustrates our commitment to stopping counterfeit products from China and protecting our nation’s economy and consumers from those intent on defrauding businesses and consumers alike.”

Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie said in the release that purchasing the fake memorabilia hurts U.S. sports organizations financially.

And, the money from the sale of counterfeit merchandise damages the U.S. economy and funds criminal enterprises, he said.

The Customs news release said consumers can protect themselves by purchasing goods directly from the trademark holder or from authorized retailers.

When shopping online, the release said, read seller reviews and check for a working U.S. phone number and address that can be used to contact the seller.

And, “Remember that if the price of a product seems too good to be true, it probably is,” the release said.

The release also said that nationwide, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement seized 26,503 shipments of products that violated intellectual property rights – which include fake sports memorabilia – in fiscal year 2020.

The fiscal year ended on Sept. 30, 2020, and is the most recent year for which those statistics are available.

The products seized nationally would have been worth more than $1.3 billion if genuine, the release said.

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