Last week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials intercepted more than $76,000 in counterfeit dollars and $465,000 in counterfeit items carried into the country at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Both discoveries took place on February 2. 1, the first time it happened in an international postal authority or the IMF.
IMF officials are conducting baggage checks at the passenger terminal and have detained five packages from different senders in China for inspection. All five shipments contained counterfeit bills ranging from $1 to $100, totaling $76,054, CBP said in a statement.
This currency is marked and intended to be used as a supported currency. Either way, copying coins is illegal, CBP said.
“Today, criminals have relatively easy access to the technology, equipment, and know-how required for counterfeiting. It is a lucrative business often used to finance criminal activities,” said Chicago Regional Port Acting Director Ralph Piccirilli. “Criminal groups continuously target our citizens, businesses, and the security of the United States financial structure, hoping to make a quick buck and damage our economic system. Our officers are there to stop that threat to our nation.”
Near the end of the counterfeit currency seizure, officials in another airport terminal sent a U.S. citizen returning from Turkey to secondary baggage.
In the conversation with the officials, the man said that he bought things for his family and friends in Turkey for 1,000 US dollars. During an analysis of the luggage, inspectors found 61 items of designer watches, clothing, handbags, sunglasses, and jewelry, all counterfeit. If the items are genuine, CBP said the suggested retail price would be $465,798.
“Counterfeit goods pose a genuine threat to the security and economic well-being of the American people,” said LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director of field operations for the Chicago Field Office. “CBP will continue to use all means available to ensure that goods entering the United States do not harm Americans and promote a fair and competitive trading environment for American manufacturers.”
According to a press release, counterfeiting, and intellectual property, piracy cost the U.S. economy between $20 billion and $250 billion annually. It results in the loss of more than 750,000 American jobs.
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