You bought a counterfeit sports jersey. So what?

Tracey Samuelson Feb 2, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

You bought a counterfeit sports jersey. So what?

Tracey Samuelson Feb 2, 2015
HTML EMBED:
COPY

As soon as the clock ran down on Super Bowl Sunday, out came the preprinted commemorative T-shirts and hats. Sports memorabilia is a huge industry, but so is counterfeiting. Federal investigators seized nearly $20 million in counterfeit hats, T-shirts and other souvenirs ahead of the Super Bowl, in a yearlong effort they dubbed “Operation Team Player.”

Alan Zimmerman, a professor of international business at the City University of New York, Staten Island, says many consumers view knock-offs as a victimless crime, believing they’re taking money from rich firms and rewarding a local manufacturer instead.

But counterfeiters can often be a part of larger criminal organizations.

“Counterfeit products are just a black market revenue stream for criminal organizations, to fund their large scale activities, everything from guns, drugs, violence, you name it,” says Bryan Cox, a spokesman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, one of the government agencies involved in Operation Team Player.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.