Feds seize 132 domain names to stop counterfeit sales

WASHINGTON -- U.S. and European law enforcement agencies seized 132 domain names that they said were illegally selling counterfeit items online to take advantage of shoppers on Cyber Monday.

One person was arrested, investigators said.

The websites were set up to dupe shoppers into unknowingly buying counterfeit DVDs, sports jerseys, clothes, jewelry and other luxury goods.

Federal officers made undercover purchases as part of the investigation. Investigators said the websites were seized after copyright holders confirmed some of the items were counterfeit or illegal.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the European Police Office (Europol) worked together on the seizure.

101 websites were seized in the U.S., along with an additional 31 in several countries overseas.

Analysts predict this year's Cyber Monday will be the biggest online shopping day in history.

"Our partnerships enable us to go after criminals who are duping unsuspecting shoppers all over the world. This is not an American problem, it is a global one and it is a fight we must win," said ICE Director John Morton.

The websites were replaced by a banner notifying visitors of the federal seizure and educating them about the consequences of buying and selling counterfeit goods.

Investigators also found PayPal accounts associated with the illegal websites and are in the process of seizing more than $175,000.

"We couldn't be more pleased with the opportunity to work closely with HSI to shut down criminals targeting our customers and our brand just as the holiday season takes off," said Tod Cohen, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel of Government Relations for eBay. "PayPal and eBay Inc. pride ourselves in going above and beyond in the fight against the illegal online trafficking of counterfeit goods by partnering with law enforcement and rights owners globally, and we hope that this is fair warning to criminals that the Internet is not a safe place to try and sell fake goods."

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