Authorities Seize $15 Million in Counterfeit Sports Merchandise in Anderson County, SC
Secretary of State Mark Hammond’s Office joins Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations in Counterfeit Merchandise Raid at Anderson Mall
COLUMBIA – South Carolina Secretary of State Mark Hammond has announced the seizure of over $15,000,000.00 in counterfeit merchandise in Anderson County.
The merchandise was seized from Kirk’s Collectibles at the Anderson Mall on February 8, 2023, in a joint operation involving Homeland Security Investigations, the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, and the Secretary of State’s Office. No arrests were made, but the investigation remains ongoing. Anderson County borders Laurens County to the northwest.
Items seized include counterfeit Super Bowl rings, as well as championship rings for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Hockey League (NHL), and the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). Several rings and other items bearing the logos of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina were also seized. If the counterfeit items seized were legitimate, the value would have totaled $15,726,590.00.
“The sale of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime,” said Secretary Hammond. “In addition to causing billions in damage to the nation’s economy each year, trafficking in counterfeit funds organized crime and terrorism. Manufacturers of counterfeit goods do not adhere to health, safety, and environmental standards, and many counterfeit items contain dangerous ingredients. There is no such thing as ‘harmless’ counterfeit merchandise.”
“Whether it’s a fan losing their hard-earned money on a fake item they were led to believe was authentic, or small businesses losing vital sales, intellectual property theft is a real crime with real victims and real financial impacts,” said Ronnie Martinez, special agent in charge of HSI Charlotte that covers North and South Carolina. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement and industry partners to protect consumers and businesses in our communities.”
According to a 2021 report from the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, intellectual property-intensive industries support more than 45 million U.S. jobs. Counterfeit enforcement is central to resolving broader trade, security, and foreign policy issues with China, where the most intellectual property theft originates.
“I would like to thank the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations for their work to combat counterfeit trafficking in South Carolina,” said Secretary Hammond. “Consumers can report the suspected sale of counterfeit merchandise by emailing our office at firstname.lastname@example.org, or notifying Homeland Security Investigations through that agency’s ICE Tip Form.”