ST. LOUIS – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers recently seized a shipment of fake Super Bowl championship rings heading to the St. Louis area from China.

On November 11, U.S. Customs officers found hundreds of fake rings at an express consignment operations hub in St. Louis. Authorities seized a shipment containing 422 rings reading “Super Bowl Champion” and bearing a design of three Lombardi Trophies.

The shipment was arriving from China and heading to a residence in Jerseyville, Illinois, according to a news release from U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

One import specialist determined the rings were not authentic through a recordation process. By using the Lombardi trophy, the manufacturer infringed on an NFL Properties trademark

“Counterfeit jewelry continues to flood the e-commerce market, and these rings were focused on a select group of sports collectors and their fans,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations-Chicago. “Our officers are well-trained to find counterfeit merchandise like these in support of CBP’s mission of protecting the American public and the American economy.”

“This is just another example of the work our officers do to protect consumers and the U.S. economy,” said St. Louis’s Port Director. “As consumers increasingly purchase from online or third-party vendors, our officers are at the frontline to guard against defrauders expecting to make money selling fake merchandise.”

If the items were genuine, the total manufacturer’s suggested retail price for theshipment would have been valued at more than $300,000. Customs officers say the shipment could allow sellers to take advantage of sports fans by selling fake merchandise to generate profits for other illegal activity.

Steven Bansbach, U.S. Customs public information officer, says the fake merchandise poses many risks. Shipments with fake merchandise could devalue authentic items, cost jobs for people involved in the transactions, and possibly lead to contaminants.

Customs officers will hold the shipment for now and investigate whether the shipment of rings are part of a trend, possibly even a criminal operation.

“A lot of people think it’s no problem to go ahead and buy these knockoffs, but that money can be syphoned to any type of organization,” said Bansbach. “It could be for a transnational organized crime, could for human smuggling, could be for a terrorist organization. We have no idea.”

To prevent such transactions, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection offers the following feedback for consumers:

  • Trust your instincts and don’t fall for a “too good to be true” deal.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • When shopping online this holiday season, read reviews and look at product photos, check seller information, and inspect product packaging for obvious errors upon arrival.
  • Make sure that you are always shopping from well-known and reputable sources.