Federal agents seize millions in bogus Super Bowl merchandise

Items seized include jerseys, caps, hats, t-shirts, cell phone covers and air fresheners.


Federal agents, backed by NFL investigators and local police, have seized nearly $5 million worth of counterfeit NFL merchandise in the weeks leading up to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

"We seized 42,692 counterfeit NFL items worth a record $4.86 million," said John Morton, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director. "That's up from $3.72 million last year."

Items seized include jerseys, caps, hats, t-shirts, cell phone covers and air fresheners. Investigators recently raided a Ft. Wayne retailer and seized boxes of counterfeit merchandise.

"For local businesses, when you see this type of competition and people are paying to be able to sell licensed merchandise in their stores, its hurts our local economy,” said Indianapolis Public Safety Director Frank Straub. “It hurts Hoosiers."

NFL officials said arrests have been made in New England and New York for the sale of counterfeit Super Bowl game tickets and that local investigations in Indianapolis are underway.

"We can tell you from year to year we see up to and more than hundreds of fans come to the gate with counterfeit tickets, stolen tickets, who have no other recourse because they've gotten those bad tickets," said Anastasia Danias, NFL vice president of Legal Affairs.

The NFL traditionally holds back a number of tickets to sell to fans on Game Day who may arrive at the stadium to find holders of counterfeit tickets sitting in their seats. Danias said counterfeiters are becoming more sophisticated in attempting to duplicate the NFL's hologram on tickets.

The NFL and ICE have also shut down more than 300 websites offering bogus items and illegal live video streams. Many of those websites originate in China where officials said they have limited success with the host country in their investigations.

Locally, IMPD is expecting investigations and arrests to multiply beginning Thursday as out-of-towners arrive for the game. To date, sources said there have been a limited number of pickpocket and prostitution arrests, mostly local residents.





Look for this special section in your
Baltimore Sun newspaper on Dec. 29, 2013.
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Google Plus
  • RSS Feeds
  • Mobile Alerts and Apps