The Department of Justice said it has seized more than $1.5 million in proceeds from the online sale of counterfeit sports apparel, which includes the seizure of three domain names.
The latest action follows earlier seizures last month of $896,000 in proceeds. In addition, a total of 761 domain names of Web sites used in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works have been seized to date.
The legal activities are from the efforts of Operation In Our Sites, a law enforcement initiative that focuses on online commercial intellectual property crime that was unveiled by Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Homeland Security Investigations in June 2010. The targeted online retailers carry a wide-range of counterfeit goods from sports equipment to athletic apparel, and from footwear to accessories, such as handbags and sunglasses.
Of the $1.5 million seizure revealed on Friday, the Department of Justice said funds were seized from interbank accounts and six money service business accounts. The funds were moved from the service accounts to correspondent or interbank accounts held by a Chinese bank in the U.S. All seizures were a result of warrants that were unsealed in a federal district court in the District of Columbia on May 7. Additional seizure warrants issued by a magistrate judge enabled the seizure of an additional $94,730 that was left in the service accounts.
Court documents indicated that certain subjects whose domain names had been seized in a November 2011 operation continued to sell counterfeit goods using new domain names. The individuals involved are based in China, according to information from the DOJ.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer, said, “By seizing the domain names and profits of online counterfeit goods operations, we are protecting consumers and sending a message to criminals that we will use every tool at our disposal to stop them.”
John Morton, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said, “ICE will continue to target those who traffic in counterfeit goods by attacking the financial profits of counterfeiting sites and shutting them down.”