26 September 2019TrademarksRory O'Neill

Preacher’s arrest leads to seizure of counterfeit Cartier jewellery

US customs officers in Kentucky have seized counterfeit jewellery imitating $90 million of genuine products.

The operations involved the arrest of North Carolina pastor Jiangang Lan last month, after the discovery of a “cache of more than 3,200 fake Cartier bracelets” worth $42 million at the Deer Park Community Church in North Carolina.

Lan has been charged with felony use of a counterfeit trademark.

The latest operation, carried out between September 9 and 17, uncovered five shipments containing counterfeits that US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said, if genuine, would be worth $48 million.

Thomas Mahn, Louisville port director, said when purchasing items online: “if it seems like too good of a deal, it is.”

“A Cartier bracelet listed online for $25 is definitely not authentic,” Mahn added.

He warned that counterfeits such as those seized bore a health risk to consumers.

“Counterfeit jewellery is often forged with lead and other hazardous materials unbeknownst to the buyer,” Mahn said.

The seizures were carried out by the CBP’s Express Consignment Operations hub in Louisville.

Announcing the arrest of Lan last month, North Carolina secretary of state Elaine Marshall said that the Cartier counterfeits seizure was the largest since the state’s Anti-Counterfeit Trademark Task Force was established in 2004.

“This is certainly the largest counterfeit seizure we have seen in terms of estimated retail value, and it is a major win for consumers and retailers,” Marshall said at the time.

“Counterfeiters peddling fakes of an iconic brand such as Cartier are doing damage not only to that company’s brand, but to legitimate merchants, and to consumer trust in brand quality,” she added.

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