You can’t beat the timing: The Justice Department seized 82 websites, four of them in New Jersey, on “Cyber Monday,” charging them with selling counterfeit NBA and NFL jerseys, bogus Louis Vuitton bags and Chanel perfume, and various other knockoffs, including DVD box sets and mp3s.
The seizures came on the biggest online shopping day of the year as part of what the feds are calling “Operation in Our Sites v. 2.0,” a crackdown on counterfeit Internet retailers led by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations Office.
Several sites got nailed for linking to other sites that illegally stream or offer movie or TV shows for uploading.
“The sale of counterfeit U.S. brands on the Internet steals the creative work of others, costs our economy jobs and revenue and can threaten the health and safety of American consumers,” said John Morton, director of the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
The latest operation is a major upgrade from Operation in Our Sites I, through which the government seized only nine domain names of websites offering pirated copies of first-run movies.
Although most of the sites were based in China, four operated out of New Jersey: 2009jerseys.com; dvdprostore.com; golfstaring.com; and ipodnanouk.com.
That prompted Paul J. Fishman, the U.S. Attorney for New Jersey, to warn that today‘s sweet serves as “a reminder to the people of New Jersey: Be vigilant consumers during the holiday season.”
Federal agents simply went online and bought from suspected shady retailers, the government said. Most times, the goods were shipped directly into the U.S. via express mail.
Those goods confirmed as counterfeit or otherwise illegal provided enough evidence for federal judges across the country to issue seizure orders for the domain names of the websites selling the swag.