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$14.1M in Hermès Fakes Seized in L.A.

Authorities searched two shipments from China and seized 1,500 bogus leather handbags at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port in February.

WASHINGTON — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials said they seized hundreds of counterfeit Hermès handbags in Los Angeles in February with a retail value of $14.1 million.

This story first appeared in the March 7, 2013 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

Authorities searched two shipments from China and seized 1,500 bogus Hermès leather handbags at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port on Feb. 12 and Feb. 26.

“Once again, this seizure demonstrates the high level of skill and vigilance of our officers in protecting the intellectual property rights of companies and individuals, as well as preventing the proliferation of counterfeit luxury handbags, potentially damaging our national economy,” said Todd Owen, director of CBP’s Los Angeles field office.

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Bogus handbags and wallets comprised the largest number of seizures last year, which totaled $1.26 billion, and China remained the primary manufacturing hub for the counterfeits, according to Customs. Of the approximately $511 million in handbags and wallets seized, more than $446 million came from China, about 87.3 percent of the total. The value of fake handbags and wallets seized rose 142 percent last year, according to Customs.

CBP officials said no arrests were made in connection with the seizure.