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Super Bowl fallout: counterfeiting arrests, fraud allegations

This is a follow-up to our post last week about possible fraud related to the Super Bowl held at MetLife Stadium in the New Jersey Meadowlands.

Late last week, only a few days before the big game, law enforcement authorities announced a crackdown on alleged counterfeiting of NFL merchandise.

In addition, a sports memorabilia dealer from New Jersey filed a lawsuit against the New York Giants. The suit contended that the team had misled him about the status of supposedly "game-worn" merchandise.

In this post, we will update you on these two developments.

The crackdown on allegedly counterfeit merchandise included the display of piles of jerseys and sweatshirts bearing the insignia of the Seattle Seahawks and the Denver Broncos. The concerns about counterfeiting also extended to tickets.

Authorities said the jerseys and sweatshirts were largely from overseas. The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency seized much of the merchandise after intercepting shipments at U.S. ports.

Fifty people were reportedly arrested in the anti-counterfeiting crackdown. The acting director of ICE told the press that buying NFL merchandise of dubious origin online puts people at risk of credit card theft.

When the game finally got underway, the Seahawks surged to a blow-out win over a slightly favored Broncos team quarterbacked by record-setting quarterback Peyton Manning. Sports commentators noted that it was one of the worst performances ever on such a big stage by a future Hall-of-Fame performer.

Meanwhile, in the New Jersey lawsuit on doctored "game-worn" merchandise, Peyton Manning's brother Eli was accused of participating in the fraud. The suit contends that Eli Manning allowed an equipment manager to make a helmet look like it was used in the 2008 Super Bowl - even though it wasn't.

In short, it was a rough week for the Manning brothers.

Source: Chicago Tribune, "$21.6 million in counterfeit NFL goods seized ahead of Super Bowl," Scott Malone (Reuters), Jan. 30, 2014

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