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State, feds seize $100,000 in fake jerseys and other goods during NBA All-Star Game

Charlotte welcomes the NBA All-Star game

150,000 visitors are expected to attended events surrounding the NBA All-Star game this weekend.
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150,000 visitors are expected to attended events surrounding the NBA All-Star game this weekend.

During the NBA All-Star Game weekend this month in Charlotte, government agents seized fake trademarked merchandise with an estimated retail value of $100,000.

Agents with the N.C. Secretary of State’s Office and Homeland Security Investigations seized counterfeit tickets and merchandise including fake NBA t-shirts, game jerseys, necklaces, buttons and posters, according to a statement this week from the Secretary of State. During their sweep, they also seized fake designer purses and wallets.

Liz Proctor, a spokeswoman for the Secretary of State’s office, said that the fate of seized counterfeit goods its up to a judge. The items wouldn’t be donated, she said, and it’s likely they’ll be destroyed.

A handful of visitors were arrested during the enforcement sweep.

On Feb. 16, agents charged Bruce Saures, 52, of Englewood, N.J., with felony attempting to obtain property by false pretenses and misdemeanor criminal possession of counterfeit tickets. On Feb. 17, agents also charged Tyree Bay, 51, of Columbus, S.C., and Eric Lewis Crouch, 56, of Inkster, Mich., with misdemeanor criminal use of a counterfeit trademark for selling counterfeit NBA t-shirts.

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Courtesy of the N.C. Secretary of State's Office

The Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority estimates that the All-Star Game drew up to 150,000 people to uptown Charlotte. According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, there were a total of 18 arrests uptown that weekend, up from nine the weekend prior.

In the statement, Secretary of State Elaine Marshall said that counterfeiters often take advantage of the demand created by any major sporting event.

“If you buy game tickets from unauthorized online sources or folks hawking tickets around the arena, you may very well be wasting your money on tickets that won’t get you into the game,” Marshall said. “You might also be helping to fund organized crime and terrorist organizations, which have been proven to use the trade of counterfeit goods to fund their activities.”

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Courtesy of the N.C. Secretary of State's Office
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Courtesy of the N.C. Secretary of State's Office

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As the retail and sports business reporter for the Observer, Katie Peralta covers everything from grocery-store competition in Charlotte to tax breaks for pro sports teams. She is a Chicago native and graduate of the University of Notre Dame.

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