US Makes Biggest Seizure of Knock-Off Luxury Items at $1 Billion


Federal prosecutors said they made the biggest-ever US seizure of fake designer handbags, shoes and other items — with an estimated retail value of more than $1 billion — and charged two people with trafficking in counterfeit goods.

Indictments were unsealed Wednesday in New York against Adama Sow, 38, and Abdulai Jallow, 48, who were accused of running the illegal operation out of a storage facility in Manhattan, prosecutors said in a statement.

More than 83,000 knock-off items were taken from premises controlled by Sow, who lived in Queens, and more than 50,000 were found on premises controlled by Jallow, who lived in Manhattan, according to the statement. If convicted, they face as long as 10 years in prison.

Photos of the warehouse where the items were stored showed scores of handbags, backpacks, wallets, duffel bags and sunglasses emblazoned with logos from the likes of Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Christian Dior, Gucci, Burberry and Hermès stuffed onto metal shelves.

“The trafficking of counterfeit goods is anything but a victimless crime because it harms legitimate businesses, governments, and consumers,” New York Police Department Commissioner Edward A. Caban said in a statement.

By Patricia Hurtado

Learn more:

Why Luxury’s Counterfeit Problem Is Getting Worse

It’s easier than ever for consumers to buy fakes online. But the spike in counterfeit sales may also have something to do with how brands themselves are pricing and marketing their products.

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