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Tag: sports

CBP Confiscates More than 1,300 Counterfeit Championship Rings

CBP confiscated more than 1,300 counterfeit championship rings. Photo: CBP

By Steve Neavling

CBP officers in Cincinnati have seized numerous shipments of counterfeit championship rings for professional sports. 

More than 1,300 counterfeit rings were confiscated over the past three months, along with many matching championships trophies, CBP announced Tuesday. 

The rings, which were cheaply made, were intercepted in 56 shipments, which originated from China. 

If genuine, the rings would be worth more than $982,000. 

They included rings for the Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Bucks, University of Kentucky and NASCAR. 

“Part of CBP’s mission is to protect American consumers from purchasing these counterfeit products,” LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, director field operations in Chicago, said in a statement. “This seizure illustrates our commitment to stopping counterfeit products from China and protecting our nation’s economy and consumers from those intent on defrauding businesses and consumers alike.”

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.”

Dems Urge Secret Service to Cough Up Details of Pence’s Football Trip

Vice President Mike Pence.

Vice President Mike Pence.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Calling Vice President Mike Pence’s early departure from an NFL game on Sunday a political stunt, two top Democrats on the House Homeland Security Committee are urging the Secret Service to disclose the cost of the trip in Indianapolis.

The letter to Secret Service Director Randolph Alles on Wednesday accused Pence of billing taxpayers for a political stunt.

“The costs associated with the Vice President traveling to Indianapolis and attending a large, public event are immense, and we are deeply concerned that the Trump Administration finds it appropriate to expend taxpayer resources to play political games,” reads the letter by Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., and Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman.

The letter also asks whether any of the agents who were present lost their eligibility for overtime because of statutory pay limits.

The Hill wrote:

Pence flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, where he attended a matchup between the Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. Reporters traveling with the vice president were told by a staffer to wait in their vans outside the stadium because of the possibility of “an early departure from the game.”

Pence soon left, after some players knelt in protest during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” President Trump later tweeted that he had told the vice president to leave if any players took a knee.

FBI Nets 10 Arrests in Ongoing Investigation of College Basketball Corruption

Basketball jump - dark silhouettesBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI led one of the largest investigations into corruption in college basketball, arresting four NCAA basketball coaches, a top Adidas executive and five others.

The arrests are part of a two-year investigation into bribery schemes in which star athletes are recruited and then pointed to particular schools, financial advisers, agents and shoe sponsors, the New York Post reports. 

And the probe is far from over.

“We have your playbook,” New York FBI Assistant Director in Charge William Sweeney said during a Manhattan news conference. “Our investigation is ongoing, and we are conducting additional interviews as we speak.”

The investigation involved undercover FBI agents who exposed what acting Manhattan U.S. attorney Joon Kim called the “dark underbelly of college basketball.”

“The picture of college basketball painted by the charges is not a pretty one,” said Kim, adding that the defendants were “circling blue-chip prospects like coyotes” and exploited them to enrich themselves.

Former Football Star Charles Tillman Training to Become FBI Agent

Former football star Charles Tillman

Former football star Charles Tillman

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman wants to become an FBI agents and recently began training to join the bureau, the Chicago Tribune reports

Tillman, 36, retired from football last year after being a member of the 15-1 Panthers team that made it to the Super Bowl in 2015.

FBI guidelines require prospective candidates to be between the ages of 23 and 37. Tillman turns 37 on Feb. 23.

Before the Bears drafted the cornerback in 2003, Tillman received a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette.

FBI Investigated Claims That Bob Knight Sexually Assaulted 4 Women

Bob Knight, via Wikipedia.

Bob Knight, via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Four women who worked at a U.S. spy agency are claiming Hall of Fame basketball coach Bob Knight sexually assaulted them before and after a 2015 speech he delivered to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Springfield. Va.

The Washington Post, citing investigative documents and interviews with spy agency employees, wrote that the women “accused Knight of a range of boorish behavior: from touching them on the shoulder while commenting on the attractiveness of their legs, to hugging them too tightly around the chest, to hitting them on the buttocks, according to documents compiled by investigators and Washington Post interviews with three of the women.” 

Inviting the retired coach to deliver a speech on leadership was an unusual choice, given his often boorish behavior and history of making demeaning comments about women.

The Post wrote:

The women accused Knight of a range of boorish behavior: from touching them on the shoulder while commenting on the attractiveness of their legs, to hugging them too tightly around the chest, to hitting them on the buttocks, according to documents compiled by investigators and Washington Post interviews with three of the women.

The FBI led an investigation to determine the veracity of the allegations, but after about a year and denials from Knight, the case was concluded with no charges by federal prosecutors in Virginia.

Knight’s attorney said the allegations were untrue.

“There is absolutely no credible evidence to support this in our opinion, these allegations,” said James Voyles, an Indianapolis lawyer who represents Knight. The FBI agents, he added, “reported to their superiors that there was no basis for any further action, period.”

Other Stories of Interest

19-Year-Old Sports Memorabilia Collector Led FBI to Stolen Tom Brady Jerseys

The FBI returns Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys to Gillette Stadium. Photo via FBI.

The FBI returns Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jerseys to Gillette Stadium. Photo via FBI.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A 19-year-old sports memorabilia collector and avid Patriots fan provided FBI with the tip that led investigators to the person who stole Tom Brady’s Super Bowl jerseys.

Dylan Wagner said he sold an unrelated jersey on eBay to Martin Mauricio Ortega, who showed off his impressive collection, CBS Boston reports

“He sent me 30 photos of his collection. Front and center was Tom Brady’s Super Bowl 49 Jersey. I asked him outright, ‘How did you get that?’ and he says ‘I’ll tell you later,’” Wagner explained.

Dylan shared the photos with a friend, who happened to be an ATF special agent in Boston.

Special Agent Christopher Arone later heard about Brady’s missing game jersey after this year’s Super Bowl.

“He sent me a link to an ESPN article. It stated it is not the first time a jersey was stolen from Brady and it happened after the Seahawks Super Bowl,” Wagner recalled. “I couldn’t believe this guy would have the audacity to go in and steal something that someone worked so hard for.”

Ortega was spotted leaving the Patriots’ locker room with something tucked under his arm.

The FBI and police in Mexico were able to recover both Super Bowl jerseys and return them to the Patriots.

“I would love to meet Brady one day, hopefully. It would be a dream come true. I’m just really glad he gets his jerseys back,” Wagner said.