FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2004
MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG ANNOUNCES LARGEST SEIZURE OF COUNTERFEIT GOODS IN NYPD HISTORY
$12 Million Seizure Is Latest in Year-Long Campaign Against Trademark Counterfeiting
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today announced the seizure of $12 million in counterfeit merchandise from a building in Manhattan's Garment District. Last night at approximately 6:00 pm, the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement and the New York Police Department executed a search warrant at a warehouse located at 1158 Broadway. Police confiscated $12 million worth of fake North Face, Sean John, Mitchell & Ness, NFL, NBA, RocaWear, and other apparel. Following the execution of the search warrant, inspectors from the Department of Buildings, the Fire Department, and the Department of Health conducted thorough inspections and issued numerous violations for unsafe building conditions and fire hazards. Last night's operation is the latest in a series of similar raids of large-scale trademark counterfeiters over the last year. It is the largest seizure of counterfeit goods in NYPD history. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt will discuss the raid at the warehouse at noon today.
"Trademark counterfeiting hurts all New Yorkers," said Mayor Bloomberg. "It deceives consumers, it costs the City billions of dollars in lost tax revenue and it puts the safety of our residents in jeopardy. Last night's seizure, and our efforts throughout the year, illustrates our dedication and commitment to putting an end to trademark counterfeiting."
"Making a fashion statement shouldn't be confused with breaking the law," said Kelly. "This is a serious crime, and I want to commend our officers for making a serious dent in it last night."
"The Mayor's initiative is so effective because it targets both the people who run these illegal businesses and the people who host them," said Feinblatt. "By seizing their merchandise, shutting down their dangerous buildings, and suing them for money damages, we are putting them both out of business."
The initiative employs a three-pronged attack. First, the Mayor's Office of Midtown Enforcement and the Police Department execute search warrants in buildings that house trademark counterfeiting businesses, seizing every counterfeit good on the premises. Second, inspectors from the Department of Buildings, the Fire Department and the Department of Health simultaneously conduct thorough inspections. When inspections reveal extremely dangerous conditions, the Department of Buildings will issue vacate orders that authorize the closing of the premises by padlock. Third, the City sues the building owners and those who run these illegal operations, seeking monetary damages and closing orders from judges. These closing orders allow police to place a second lock on the doors.
The Mayor's trademark counterfeiting initiative was first announced on December of 2003. Including last night's seizure, the initiative has resulted in the closure of ten buildings, the seizure of over $20 million in counterfeit goods, and the recovery of hundreds of thousands of dollars in civil settlements. Of the ten buildings raided, nine remain closed and one is currently being leased to a legitimate business.
Edward Skyler / Robert Lawson (212) 788-2958