Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Nike Counterfeiters Busted

Some of you know that for the past year Nike has been getting KILLED by counterfeit Jordans and Air Force Ones. I personally have seen what must be fake Nikes sold out of the backs of car trunks much like I've seen cigarettes and big juicy steaks being sold in years gone by.

Counterfeits cut into Nike's own sales of course, but they also eat at perceived exclusivity, which Nike works very very hard at building--you don't think it's an accident that you can't get Uptowns in December, do you? Anyway, after this news on the bust of a ring of Nike counterfeiters ('member the good ole days when the illegal substances were carried IN the shoes??), I'll bet the folks at Beaverton are in a cheery mood today.

Flanked by a display of what appeared to be high-end Nike athletic shoes, representatives from the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday announced the break up of one of the largest counterfeit merchandise smuggling schemes uncovered in recent U.S. history. Six persons, including two U.S. citizens and four foreign nationals, were indicted last month for conspiring to smuggle millions of dollars worth of phony merchandise, including Nike Air Jordan athletic shoes, from China into the United States. So far, authorities have seized more than $16 million worth of counterfeit merchandise as part of the probe, which involves U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

I love how the Department of Homeland Security was in on the bust. Knowing that there are fewer counterfeit Nikes being distributed to flea markets across America makes ME feel safer. How about you? And here is a list of the perps:

A magistrate released Mark Elias, 36, and Manuel Flores Jr., 53, both of El Paso, on cash bail of $50,000 and $20,000, respectively, but ordered Juan Carlos Martinez Esquer, 46, of Mexico; Wei Tung Lam, a resident of Gambia and native of China, and Sau Kuen Chan of Hong Kong held as flight risks. The sixth defendant, Peng Liu of Hong Kong, is a fugitive.

Lol, isn't it nice how Nike brings folks of all different cultures together?

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