WASHINGTON — Federal authorities said Thursday they seized 89 Web sites selling a wide range of counterfeit designer products, including Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Christian Louboutin.
This story first appeared in the December 21, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The majority of the 89 Web sites — more than 90 percent — were illegally operating under Louis Vuitton domain names.
The list of domain names included: perfectlouisvuittonoutlet.com, louisvuittonisluxury.com and louisvuittononsale.com, guccioutlets2013.com and perfectchristianlouboutin.com
The sites were seized as part of “Project Cyber Monday,” being conducted by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.
The seized Web sites will show a banner that notifies the public of the seizure and educates them about the federal crime of trafficking in counterfeit goods and services.
As part of that investigation, authorities have seized 190 domain names “designed to entice shoppers looking to purchase well-known brand-name goods.” Consumers searching for branded products were often redirected to a host Web site, which authorities said was set up to dupe them into buying bogus goods.
“Web sites are valuable assets that are critical to the success of companies competing for business today,” said Brian M. Moskowitz, special agent in charge of HSI Houston. “Unfortunately, they can also be manipulated to support illegal activity.”
The operation is part of a broader investigation known as “In Our Sites,” which began more than two years ago. Under IOS, officials have seized 1,719 domain names and, of those, more than 690 have been forfeited to the U.S. government.