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Tag: counterfeit

FBI Investigates Vermont State Troopers Accused of Making Bogus COVID-19 Vaccination Cards

An authentic vaccination card. Photo: Shutterstock.

By Steve Neavling

The FBI is investigating three Vermont State Police troopers for allegedly making fake COVID-19 vaccination cards. 

The troopers, Shawn Sommers, Raymond Witkowski and David Pfindel, have resigned, according to a state police statement obtained by VTDigger.

The troopers “are suspected of having varying roles in the creation of fraudulent COVID-19 vaccination cards,” the statement reads. 

The investigation began after fellow troopers notified their supervisors about the allegations. 

It wasn’t immediately clear what the bogus vaccination cards were for. 

The U.S. Attorney’s Office also is investigating. 

“The accusations in this case involve an extraordinary level of misconduct — a criminal violation of the law — and I could not be more upset and disappointed,” said Col. Matthew T. Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. 

“If these allegations are proved to be true,” he said, “it is reprehensible that state troopers would manipulate vaccination cards in the midst of a pandemic, when being vaccinated is one of the most important steps anyone can take to keep their community safe from COVID-19.”

Man Wearing Fake Border Patrol Uniform in a Bogus Patrol Vehicle Arrested with 10 Migrants

The driver of this Bogus Border Patrol vehicle was arrested. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

A human smuggling suspect was busted wearing a fake Border Patrol uniform while driving a phony patrol vehicle in Arizona.

The driver and 10 migrants inside the vehicle were arrested near Tucson by Homeland Security Investigations and Border Patrol agents, said John R. Modlin, interim chief Border Patrol agent of the Tucson Sector.

“This is not a Border Patrol vehicle,” Modlin tweeted with a photo of the SUV.

The vehicle bears a striking resemblance to the authentic Border Patrol vehicle. 

Modlin didn’t mention when the incident occurred or provide any more details about the driver, such as his age and nationality. 

In a separate incident, Customs and Border Protection officers at the Chicago International Mail Branch seized 28 counterfeit DEA badges this week. Last weekend, CBP officers discovered eight fake DEA badges and one counterfeit FBI badge.

Authorities Seize Record-Breaking $134M Worth of Counterfeit Super Bowl Merchandise

Counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A record-breaking $134 million worth of counterfeit Super Bowl merchandise was seized in Miami ahead of the big game Sunday.

Authorities from CBP, ICE and Homeland Security Investigations targeted international shipments of the counterfeit merchandise, as well as flea markets, retail outlets and street vendors, as part of the ongoing sting Operation Team Player, which focuses on counterfeit sports merchandise. They seized fake jerseys, jewelry, hats, cell-phone accessories and thousands of other bogus items that were to be sold to unsuspecting consumers.

Last year, Operation Team Player seized $24.2 million worth of counterfeit sports merchandise.

“Every day, cargo containers containing billions of dollars’ worth of counterfeit goods enter the United States through its land, sea and air ports of entry,” Steve Francis, director of Homeland Security Investigations’ Intellectual Property Rights, said in a news release. “This year’s record-breaking ‘Operation Team Player’ results affirm HSI’s commitment to protecting American consumers, the economy, and legitimate business, by ensuring Super Bowl 54 is not compromised by transnational criminal networks exploiting fan enthusiasm for illicit profits. Sports fans from around the world, who’ve spent their hard-earned money to support their favorite NFL team, deserve to receive genuine, high-quality officially licensed merchandise in return.”

CBP Seizes 28 Counterfeit NBA Rings at Los Angeles International Airport

Counterfeit NBA championship rights, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

CBP seized 28 counterfeit NBA rings at Los Angeles International Airport.

The value of the rings, if genuine, is estimated at $560,000.

CBP officers found the rings in a wooden box while examining a shipment from China.

The rings included designs from 11 teams: The Cleveland Cavaliers, San Antonio Spurs, Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers, Detroit Pistons, Miami Heat, Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Chicago Bulls, Denver Nuggets and Golden State Warriors.

“Scammers take advantage of collectors and pro-basketball fans desiring to obtain a piece of sports history”, Carlos C. Martel, CBP director of field operations in Los Angeles, said in a news release. “This seizure illustrates how CBP officers and import specialists protect not only trademarks, but most importantly, the American consumer.”

Hollywood Props Get So Realistic That Secret Service Complains

Prop money

Prop money

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Hollywood props are becoming so realistic-looking that the Secret Service has become alarmed.

Bloomberg reports in a video newscast, which you can see by clicking here, that one of the largest prop makers in Hollywood, Independent Studios, has received complaints from the Secret Service because the props, like cash, guns and knives, look so realistic.
The company rents out more than 100 million props and manufactures unique products made to customer’s specifications.

HD cameras are a big reason the props have become so realistic.

Other Stories of Interest

State Justice Department Employee Accused of Helping Run ‘Fictitious’ Police Department

Brandon Kiel

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A state Justice Department employee was among three people arrested for allegedly operating an underground police force in California.

Brandon Kiel, 31, of South Los Angeles, was charged with seven counts of impersonating a police officer and is on administrative leave, SignalSCV.com reports. 

“We cannot comment on the ongoing personnel matter or criminal investigation,” California DOJ spokeswoman Kristin Ford said.

During a raid last week, federal investigators found badges, police ID cards, weapons and uniforms.

The suspects declared the Masonic Fraternal Police Department to be a sate agency.

Kiel has worked with the California DOJ since July 2013 as the deputy director of community affairs.

What’s unclear is whether the trio ever performed law enforcement activities, such as pulling over cars and conducting raids.

Secret Service Helps Nab Peruvian Who Printed $4.5M in Counterfeit Money

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Peruvian man is accused of printing millions of dollars in counterfeit U.S. currency, Bloomberg reports.

Authorities arrested Pedro Sosa Inca Casana, 42, as he emerged from a taxi with $1.9 million in counterfeit bills, the Secret Service said.

Authorities said the suspect was operating a counterfeiting operation out of a downtown Lima store.

The Secret Service seized $4.5 million, along with printing supplies.

“This investigation addresses the continuing economic threats to our country and illustrates how well established law enforcement networks work together to disrupt international organized crime each day,” U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson said in a statement.

FBI Investigates Bogus Miami Heat Tickets Following Expensive Scams

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI is investigating the sale of bogus tickets for Miami Heat basketball games after a former NFL Hall of Fame player was scammed out of first-row seats and $200,000, WPTV.com reports.

Quarterback Warren Moon was reportedly scammed, along with other NFL players Charles Woodson and Jarvis Green.

The FBI confirmed it was investigating the sale of bogus tickets but wouldn’t elaborate.

Miami Heat is urging fans to be on the look out for scams.