US authorities have seized US$1.5 million worth of proceeds from counterfeit goods made in China and sold online in the US, Department of Justice officials said on Friday.
The probe seized funds from interbank accounts and six money service business accounts, according to US officials, who also said three domain names where the counterfeit goods — sports apparel and jerseys — were being sold had been taken down.
The move was the latest effort to target commercial intellectual property crime on the Internet, as part of the US government’s “Operation In Our Sites,” officials said.
“To date, 761 domain names of websites used in the sale and distribution of counterfeit goods and illegal copyrighted works have been seized as a result of Operation In Our Sites,” the Justice Department said in a statement.
The operation, officials said, had in a matter of weeks, seized more than US$2.4 million in proceeds from individuals overseas who are “preying on” the US economy.
The seizures “are another step forward in our efforts to disrupt and disable those engaged in intellectual property crime,” US Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said.
“By seizing the domain names and profits of online counterfeit goods operations, we are protecting consumers and sending a message to criminals that we will use every tool at our disposal to stop them,” Breuer said.