“Fake It Til You Make It” Just Got a Lot Harder
The streets of N.Y.C.’s Chinatown are wet with tears as U.S. Border Patrol officers seize a record $1.7 billion of fake bags, clothes and electronics. Stroll down New York City’s Canal Street and you’re bound to stumble on one—or more like 20—vendors peddling counterfeit apparel and accessories: “Louis Vuitton” purses, “Rolex” watches and “Apple” devices. Armed with a keen eye for detail, these entrepreneurial salesmen and women are the masters of (illegal) capitalism, but soon they may be forced to outfit their stands with a lot less merchandise. U.S. Customs and Border Protection is cracking down on counterfeits in record numbers, according the group’s latest report on “intellectual property rights” seizures at U.S. borders unveiled this week. And just how many faux luxury goods—handbags, watches, consumer electronics and shoes—is that? There were 22,848 overall seizures, or an average of 66 per day, in the CBP’s 2013 fiscal year—7 percent more raids than in the previous year. And talk about a lot of Louis; the goods’ estimated cash value increased by 38 percent to more than $1.7 billion.