Correcting Deficiencies in Detecting Money Laundering by the

Rossen Reports: Feds crack down on fake
Super Bowl Merch
By Jeff Rossen, NBC News
It's a multimillion-dollar criminal enterprise now in full force
at the Super Bowl.
New Orleans is flooded with fans buying up anything they can,
from Super Bowl hats to jerseys. But some of it is fake.
"So what?" you may say; "I'm still getting a shirt." But officials
say some of the money from fake Super Bowl merchandise is
funding major crimes. We went out with a team of federal
investigators from the Department of Homeland Security and
Immigration and Customs Enforcement on the hunt for NFL
counterfeits, hitting store after store, finding fake after fake
after fake: merchandise that looks so real, even the experts
have to look twice.
"Why should the average person at home care about this?" we asked John Schmidt,
a field supervisor for the Department of Homeland Security.
"The proceeds from the sale of these items support criminal enterprises like gangs,
drug organizations, underground networks," Schmidt told us.
And investigators say the criminals are getting better at fooling you. We found hats
and jerseys with the NFL logo all over them -- even the official-looking NFL
That was fake, too. "It's just a shiny piece of paper," Schmidt explained.
Most of the counterfeit merchandise is shipped in from China. Officials try to stop it
at the ports, but they can't keep up. At one store, officials seized three dozen
counterfeit jerseys. We had some questions for the store manager.
"Do you feel bad about selling counterfeit goods?" we asked.
"Of course, but this is the first time I know those jerseys are counterfeit," the
manager said.
So why was he selling them way under market price? "The price is too low,"
said Trey Lund, assistant special agent in charge for Homeland Security. "You
know, they’re selling these for $49.99. The official Nike jerseys, the real
ones, run right around $250."
We called the store owner. He never got back to us.
At another store, investigators confiscated more jerseys and hats. The
owner told us he had no idea they were fakes.
"Where did you get these hats?" we asked the owner.
"Just a guy come around and sell them."
"Does that sound like legitimate NFL… a guy coming around and selling
"That's correct," the owner said. "But I don't know."
But investigators said the next store we visited knew. The
owner tried to pull a fast one, denying he had any jerseys. But
when they searched behind the counter, it was a different
"What does that tell you?" we asked.
"That he knows it's illegal and he knows that it's wrong," the
investigator said.
The owner said he's sorry and these stores all got warnings.
But in some cases, prosecutors file criminal charges. "If
they're perpetuating this sort of criminal activity, we're not
going to give up until we find them," said Ray Parmer, special
agent in charge, Homeland Security.
This season alone, the NFL has seized more than $13
million in fake merchandise. And it's not just stores. On
Thursday the federal government will announce that
they're shutting down more than 300 websites that were
selling counterfeit NFL clothing.
So how do you protect yourself? These criminals are
smart, but they can't seem to get the stitching down. The
stitching in real NFL jerseys is flawless. When you buy a
jersey, turn it inside out. If the stitching is sloppy, it likely
may be a fake.