Counterfeit Fashion Donated to Charities

May 18, 2010 Updated: October 1, 2015

REAL DEAL: Brand names such as Tommy Hilfiger have been targeted for counterfeiting. Seized fakes are donated to charity with permission from the brand owner. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
REAL DEAL: Brand names such as Tommy Hilfiger have been targeted for counterfeiting. Seized fakes are donated to charity with permission from the brand owner. (Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES—Kevin Weeks, the director of field operations in Los Angeles for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), announced in February the donation of 109,300 pairs of shoes, 10,000 pants, and 2,592 sweaters to nonprofit organizations World Vision International, Soles4Souls, Samaritan’s Feet, and Shelter Partnership.

The total estimated domestic value of the items is $3.6 million, with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $13.2 million.

All the items were seized by CBP officials at Los Angeles/Long Beach seaports for bearing counterfeit trademarks of various famous brands. CBP is responsible for enforcing trade laws and preventing counterfeits from entering commerce. Rather than destroying the fake items seized at ports of entry, the legitimate brand owners may authorize CBP to donate the items to charity.

“We are very thankful that the trademark owners approved the items to be donated to charity. We are pleased to put the counterfeit items to good use,” said Director Weeks. Often the seized goods and clothing are deemed to be high quality despite the counterfeit brand name.

In fiscal year 2009, the Los Angeles field office donated 639,000 pairs of shoes, 3,696 men shirts, 351 TV DVD combo sets, and 41,071 pieces of clothing to charities. These items had a domestic value of $19.2 million and a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $76.5 million.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control, and protection of borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.