Homeland Security agents have seized approximately $500,000 worth of counterfeit Warriors merchandise on its way to fans via Bay area vendors. This recent crackdown on unofficial merchandise started after the Western Conference finals in May. A group consisting of federal agents, ‘brand security’ investigators, and attorneys for the NBA from their intellectual property division actually went out into the streets of San Francisco to seek out these vendors. Not only is selling counterfeit merchandise illegal, they argue, but it also supports criminal enterprises. Tatum King, the agent in charge, has even gone so far as to suggest that buying cheaper merchandise is a matter of national security! Some of the shirts, hats, and other goods involved were printed with slogans like “Dub Nation: We Rep the Bay.” Investigators claims that buyers must look for official tags when purchasing gear related to their favorite team.
According to federal law (18 U.S. Code 2320: “Trafficking in counterfeit goods or services”), purposefully selling counterfeit materials is illegal. This includes any items with counterfeit ‘marks,’ such as a fake label, badge, t-shirt, patch, or the like. Penalties for such a violation of the law are harsh. For each offense, an individual person could spend, if convicted, up to 10 years in prison and pay up to $2,000,000 in fines. If an organization or company (anyone other than an individual) is found guilty of this crime, they will likely be subject to a fine of $5,000,000. Second offense consequences are even worse. If caught violating this federal law a second time, an individual can expect to spend up to 20 years in a federal facility and to pay a $5,000,000 fine.
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