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More Websites seized in Cyber Monday battle against counterfeit goods

A Buffalo NY-area man was arrested and more Websites seized as ICE’s “Cyber Monday” crackdown on electronic sales of counterfeit merchandise continued on Nov. 26.

Federal authorities arrested Gary Hammer, 47, of Cheektowaga, NY on Nov. 26, charging him with trafficking in counterfeit Microsoft software. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine, said Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI).

Additionally, federal agents seized 15 Websites allegedly selling counterfeit sporting merchandise the same day. The Websites were seized as part of a global enforcement operation that targeted more than 130 websites operating worldwide.

According to the criminal complaint, in August Hammer, listed Microsoft Vista Business and Microsoft Office software for sale on Craigslist. An ICE HSI investigation found the merchandise Hammer was peddling to be counterfeit. Although the defendant was served Oct. 23 with a cease and desist letter from Microsoft Corporation, he continued to sell the fake Microsoft merchandise, said ICE. He was arrested Nov 21.

Hammer made an initial appearance in court the same day as his arrest, but was released on his own recognizance, said ICE. He’s is due back in court on Dec. 12, it said.

In a separate action, early on the morning of Nov. 26, HSI special agents seized 15 websites that allegedly sold counterfeit sports caps and other merchandise. According to affidavit supporting the seizure warrants, some of the Web sites sold caps allegedly manufactured by New Era Cap, a Buffalo, NY-based company.

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) issued a statement on Nov. 26 touting his work to protect New Era from foreign counterfeiters. The 60-year-old business’ Buffalo cap and apparel production plant is in Schumer’s district. Schumer said the office of the U.S. Trade Representative and other federal officials had contacted the Chinese government to notify it of Chinese counterfeiters of New Era products. Schumer said a notorious Chinese Web site -- Alibaba.com -- had shut down 380 fraudulent listings in a Cyber Monday raid.

Schumer also said on Nov. 26 that ICE’s national Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Center was “working hand-in-glove to keep New Era apprised of counterfeit raids that will help the company and federal law enforcement identify and track fake cap producers.”

 

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