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August 15, 2019

Nearly $1 million in counterfeit smartphones seized at Philly port

Investigations Customs
Counterfeit phones Source/U.S. Customs & Border Protection

Fake smartphones sent to the United States from China were seized in two shipments at the Port of Philadelphia in July and August. Officials say their combined value, if authentic, would be nearly $1 million.

More than 4,000 counterfeit smartphones were seized at the Port of Philadelphia in two shipments that arrived from China over the last month, Customs & Border Protection officials announced Thursday.

Had the smartphones been authentic, they would have had a total manufacturer's suggested retail value of $941,450, according to investigators.

The first shipment arrived July 26 and contained 2,043 counterfeit LG phones, while the second shipment of 1,926 LG and 480 ASUS counterfeit smartphones came on Aug. 9. The MSRP of both shipments was $508,707 and $432,743, respectively, officials said.

The shipments were routed from China through the Dominican Republic and finally to Philadelphia. They were labeled as used cell phones.

During the inspections, officials shipped samples of the phones to trade experts to test them for trademark authenticity. The counterfeit phones will be destroyed.

“In addition to substantial theft suffered by the lawful trademark holders, these counterfeit smartphones may also pose a financial security and health threat to American consumers due to the installation of identity theft software on the phones or the potential for counterfeit batteries to overheat and burn consumers,” said Casey Durst, CBP director of field operations in Baltimore.

CBP officers around the country typically seize $3.7 million worth of counterfeit products with intellectual property violations on any given day. Had the products seized in 2018 been genuine, they would have been worth a combined $1.4 billion.