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November 27, 2012

132 websites seized during crackdown on counterfeit goods selling

ICE's move was part of Project Cyber Monday 3 and Project Transatlantic

By CBR Staff Writer

The US and European law enforcement agencies have seized about 132 online sites that have been selling counterfeit goods to unsuspecting holiday shoppers on Cyber Monday.

The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) has carried out the investigation with support from law enforcement agencies from Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the UK and the European Police Office (Europol).

According to the ICE, the seizure of websites, which were set up to trick consumers into unknowingly buying counterfeit goods, was part of Project Cyber Monday 3 and Project Transatlantic.

ICE director John Morton said that the cooperation enable to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world.

"This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win," Morton said.

The crackdown marks the first operation European police as well as the third year that the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center (IPR Center) has targeted fraudulent websites that have been selling counterfeit goods on Cyber Monday.

During the operation, the goods that were purchased by the undercover officers include sports jerseys, clothing, jewelry, DVDs and luxury goods, according to ICE.

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The Cyber Monday seizures increase the total number of US sites taken over to about 1,630 since the launch of anti-counterfeit campaign in June 2010.

PayPal accounts identified with the sites and holding a total of more than $175,000 are being targeted for seizure, the ICE statement said.

In addition to the identification of domain names, officials are also targeting PayPal accounts used by the infringing websites that hold about $175,000 in proceeds.

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