WASHINGTON — Federal and local authorities in Florida said they confiscated 2,300 counterfeit National Basketball Association-related items and made 10 arrests in the run-up to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials from the Homeland Security Investigations unit operated in teams throughout the Orlando area in the days leading up to the basketball event, which was held Feb. 24 to 26.
Agents seized $69,000 worth of bogus items, including T-shirts, caps and jerseys, and arrested 10 individuals for possessing or offering to sell NBA merchandise in violation of Florida state law.
“Counterfeiters prey on sports fans at events like the NBA All-Star Game,” said Susan McCormick, special agent in charge of HSI in Tampa. “I urge buyers to beware. Counterfeiting is not a harmless crime. Counterfeiting costs U.S. businesses more than $200 billion each year and accounts for the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs.”
Ayala Deutsch, senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel for the NBA, said, “The NBA is committed year-round to protecting both our fans and legitimate, tax-paying retailers from being victimized by counterfeiters seeking to profit illegally from the public’s enthusiasm for the NBA. We greatly appreciate the tireless efforts of HSI, the Orlando Police Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Office throughout All-Star Weekend and are pleased to have their support in working to address this important issue.”