Investigators seize counterfeit NBA Finals gear in downtown Cleveland

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CLEVELAND, Ohio — The FOX 8 I TEAM has learned investigators Wednesday night seized clothing for sale on downtown Cleveland streets before the Cavs’ NBA Finals game.

Cleveland police and representatives from the NBA went out looking for vendors selling shirts and hats that were not officially licensed by the league.

An estimated 200 shirts were seized by one investigative team alone.

Authorities have also seized unlicensed gear in the Bay Area of California around home games for the Golden State Warriors.

The local cases could go to a grand jury for possible criminal charges later.

The NBA works with law enforcement throughout the playoffs to help enforce laws prohibiting the sale of unlicensed merchandise.

“Not only is counterfeiting harmful to the local economy and local retailers, it has a negative effect on the overall fan experience,” Ayala Deutsch, Executive Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, NBA Properties, said in a release. “We know Cavaliers fans want to purchase special, authentic souvenirs to remember this time, and we want to ensure that they are armed with tips and tools to recognize fake merchandise.”

The NBA has a list of tips to protect fans from becoming victims of counterfeit items:

  • Look for an NBA hologram sticker or hangtag
  • Check for a sewn-in or screen-printed neck label identifying a licensee that has been authorized by the NBA to produce official merchandise, and make sure that any sewn-in tags or labels are intact and not ripped
  • Look at the overall quality of the product before making a purchase, make sure player and team names are spelled correctly and team colors appear accurate; assess the quality of the embroidery or screen printing
  • Purchase merchandise from NBA-authorized retail locations

Continuing coverage here. 

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