BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) - Federal law enforcement authorities have announced the seizure of 132 domain names in several countries to stop them from selling counterfeit merchandise online.
The Cyber Monday crackdown comes on what's expected to be the biggest online shopping day of the year. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations coordinated the effort with Europol and police in Belgium, Denmark, France, Romania and the United Kingdom.
Authorities say it's the third consecutive Cyber Monday that websites selling knockoff sports jerseys, DVDs and other goods have been targeted.
ICE Special Agent in Charge James Spero said, "If the price is too good to be true, it probably is. The victims are American businesses, trademark and copyright holders, and the people who make legitimate products and sell them, including Buffalo-based New Era."
They say sites were seized after copyright holders confirmed that products purchased there by investigators were illegal.
Site visitors now see a banner explaining the seizure and copyright infringement.
In addition to closing down websites, a local man has been arrested in this latest crackdown on counterfeit goods. The U.S. Attorney's Office says counterfeit Microsoft Office and business software was being sold by 47-year-old Gary Hammer of Cheektowaga on Craigslist.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael DiGiacomo said, "He sold some counterfeit software to representatives of Microsoft, and then at that point they reached out to this office here, and this office ICE agreed to further the investigation."
The U.S. Attorney's Office says Hammer may have manufactured some of the software he was allegedly selling. Investigators say he was served a cease and desist letter from Microsoft, but they say he continued to sell counterfeit Microsoft merchandise.
Homeland Security field offices in Buffalo, N.Y., New Jersey, California, Maryland, Colorado and Texas investigated.
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