Sunday, January 30, 2011

Feds Confiscated Super Bowl XLV And Green Bay Packers Pirated Merchandise Being Sold At 7 Mile Fair

Photo by HNG

Thousands of dollars of estimated pirated Super Bowl XLV merchandise confiscated by Feds.

By H. Nelson Goodson
January 30, 2011

Caledonia, Wisconsin -  On Sunday, federal agents walked into the 7 Mile Fair in Caledonia, located on the 7 Mile Road exit and I-94 and executed search warrants for the suspected pirated Super Bowl XLV and Green Bay Packers merchandise. They were able to confiscate counterfeit material from three different booths inside the market place, but the booths were allow to stay opened, according to Scott Niles, CEO of 7 Mile Fair Inc. who operates the bargain fair on the weekends.
More than ten agents took part in the raid. They also took clothing and items labeled Gucci, Ed Hardy and other brand names. At least ten golf cart loads of merchandise was taken before noon, merchants who witnessed the raid reported.
The feds cited the booth operators where the alleged pirated material was found and no arrests were made.
The feds had been targeting the the 7 Mile Fair since last April 2010 as an ongoing investigation when they confiscated merchandise that included thousands of items such as counterfeit sports wear, sports named Nike tennis shoes, t-shirts sport jackets with fake brand names and other items totaling more than $350,000. The weekend fair is known for finding pirated items at a reasonable price and other unusual items, according to bargain seekers at the fair.
The feds haven't released the amount of merchandise and estimated total of the items that were removed from the 7 Mile Fair.
Multiple federal agencies involved in the unexpected raid, were the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the U.S. Marshals Service and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). CBP specializes in piracy seizures and is a separate branch of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), according to sources.

Joseph Kim

Photo: Cook County Sheriff's Department

Federal authorities are trying to connect the latest counterfeit acquisition of items at the 7 Mile Fair to a major fake sports wear distributor charged in December by Chicago Cook County District Attorney's Office. The Cook County Sheriff's Department arrested Joseph Kim, 27, after an undercover investigation found he was manufacturing and distributing thousands of sweatshirts, T-shirts, jerseys and hats embroidered with counterfeit logos of the Chicago Bears, Blackhawks and other popular brands, Sheriff Thomas J. Dart reported in December.
Kim, of Riverwoods, was charged with possession of more than 2,000 counterfeit items and manufacturing counterfeit items, both felonies. He posted $25,000 bail and was released pending the outcome of the case.
More than $650,000 in counterfeit merchandise and $400,000 in equipment was seized in a raid. Investigators found most of the counterfeit apparel was boxed and ready to be shipped from Kim’s headquarters in the 4500 block of West Fillmore Street in Chicago out to flea markets and small shops across the country.
The seizure is the largest of its kind by the sheriff’s vice unit in recent years. In the three-story warehouse Kim operated, police seized eight embroidery machines, valued at around $50,000 each. Also seized were more than 10,000 items of counterfeit clothing – more than half of which had Chicago Bears and other NFL logos on them. Also among the counterfeit stash were more than 1,000 fraudulent Fox Racing items and hundreds more pieces of merchandise with Harley Davidson, Hurley, Tapout and Nike logos, among others, affixed to them. When the warehouse was raided, eight employees were mass-producing near-replica Bears logos onto cheap winter hats.
The Cook County Sheriff’s Police Vice Unit began investigating Kim in October after receiving information about hundreds of fraudulent T-shirts being sold at a major out-of-state flea market. Kim told investigators he could embroidery nearly any trademark requested and among the items confiscated were computer discs with countless professional and college athletic logos, as well as major clothing brands, Sheriff Dart reported. 

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