1,300 Fake Made-in-China Championship Rings Seized by US Border Protection

By Jonathan Walker | January 7, 2022
Jonathan loves talking politics, economics and philosophy. He carries unique perspectives on everything making him a rather odd mix of liberal-conservative with a streak of independent Austrian thought.
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SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - SEPT. 26: Former San Francisco 49ers Jerry Rice is seen in attendance showing off a Super Bowl Ring during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Levi's Stadium on Sept. 26, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. CBP officers have seized 56 shipments of fake rings between October and December. (Image: Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency in Cincinnati has seized more than 1,300 counterfeit championship rings in the three months between October and December 2021 according to a media release by the organization. In total, CBP officers got hold of 56 separate shipments of rings. The shipments, which were all from China, would be worth $982,263 if the rings were real.

Championship rings tend to be popular around the holiday season. Counterfeit rings are usually made of cheap materials and sold at high prices. The seized rings lacked detail and quality. Fake rings belonging to the LA Dodgers, Boston Red Sox World Series, NASCAR Championship, University of Kentucky Championship, and Milwaukee Bucks were present in the shipment. Some of the ring sets also contained fake trophies like the Vince Lombardi trophy.

“Purchasing counterfeit sports memorabilia defunds our sports organizations… The money profited from selling fake merchandise such as championship rings, is used to damage the United States economy and fund criminal enterprises. I am proud of the officers in Cincinnati, they work hard to protect our domestic businesses and stop illegal shipments,” Cincinnati Port Director Richard Gillespie said in a Jan. 4 statement.

LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, Director Field Operations-Chicago, pointed out that the seizure illustrated the CBP’s commitment to preventing counterfeit products from entering the United States. For the 2020 fiscal year, CBP had seized 26,503 shipments of items that violated Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). The items would have been valued at more than $1.3 billion if real.

The CBP advised people to buy such items directly from the trademark holder or authorized retailers. While shopping online for such rings, buyers should check for seller reviews and look for a working U.S. address and phone number, the agency stated. If the price of a product seems too good to be true, “it probably is,” CBP warned.

On Sept. 13, CBP officers from Chicago had also seized a similar shipment from China that contained 86 championship rings. The shipment was destined to an address in Missouri and contained rings from the New York Yankees, Chicago Bulls, Philadelphia Eagles, and St. Louis Cardinals. 

If it had been authentic, the items would have a combined value of around $2.38 million. Shane Campbell, Area Port Director – Chicago, stated that counterfeiters dupe shoppers into buying dangerous and low-quality fake items. 

“Shipments like these prey on the many sports fans across the nation who may be scammed into paying high prices for fake memorabilia… I’m extremely proud of these officers’ determination in stopping illicit shipments, and our commitment to protecting the American economy,” LaFonda Sutton-Burke, Director, Field Operations, Chicago, said in a statement.

Back in June 2021, CBP officers at the Port of Indianapolis caught three shipments containing fake NBA and NFL championship rings that would have been worth more than $803,000 if genuine. Again, the shipment was from China and was destined to various addresses across the United States.

“This just goes to show you how criminals are using e-Commerce to ship their items to unsuspecting consumers endangering their personal health and safety, as well as damaging our economy,” Kerry Carter, Acting Port Director-Indianapolis, had said at that time.