How to Spot Counterfeit NFL Merchandise | NECN
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How to Spot Counterfeit NFL Merchandise

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Selling counterfeit merchandise is a serious crime, and the Super Bowl is a prime location for these criminals. (Published Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2015)

    Selling counterfeit merchandise is a serious crime, and the Super Bowl is a prime location for these criminals.

    In a townhouse development in Glendale, Arizona, a team of federal agents had a sting for illegal merchandise.

    "The merchandise has an invoice attached with all of it. And it's very clearly marked. It's coming from China," said ICE New England spokesperson Dan Modricker.

    Counterfeit NFL jerseys, along with NBA, NHL, Major League Baseball apparel, were all seized in an early morning search warrant.

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    How big of a business is this? Federal agents at the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center, or IPR Center, are tasked with cracking down on the $200 billion annual counterfeit network.

    Modricker is in town this week for Super Bowl XLIX.

    "Our main point of being out here is to educate the consumer. And to make them realize that this isn't a victimless crime," Modricker said.

    This haul here, worth about $100,000, is just from greater Phoenix and from the past few days.

    So how does a consumer to spot a fake jersey while in Glendale?

    "Their main goal is to make money. So they're going to crank these things out as quickly as possible. And so, you'll see that they don't even bother to lift the needle when they go from one letter to the next. So you'll see the cross-stitching from one letter to the next to the next. It's all one seam," Modricker said.

    It's not just stitching; there is also shoddy coloring and rip-off holograms. Authorities also warn that some of the material used for this knock-off merchandise can be potentially harmful to your body. Modricker pointed to a pair of fake NFL team earrings.

    "When you look at it, you have no idea who made this, what materials they used. I know lead is a lot cheaper than silver. So you don't know what you're putting into your body," he said.

    Plus, Modricker says, it's crushing the economy, since up to 1.4 million Massachusetts jobs rely on intellectual property.

    One man is in custody facing felony charges in Wednesday's sting. 

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