The U.S. Attorney's office on Monday said investigators have seized more than 130 websites worldwide that sold counterfeit merchandise.
U.S. Attorney William Hochul says special agents with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations have shut down 15 of the websites that were easily accessible to consumers in Western New York.
Some of those sites sold counterfeit products from a local company, Hochul said.
"Five of those 15 websites sold counterfeit merchandise which is manufactured by a company headquartered right here in Western New York, and that of course is New Era Cap," Hochul said.
One such website -- newerasonlinesshop.com -- was easy to spot as a fake because one screen displayed the name of the company "New Era" as "New Ear," as indicated in the photo with the article.
The websites offered counterfeit merchandise from the Buffalo Bills, New York Giants, New York Yankees, Toronto Blue Jays, and Detroit Tigers, including caps and jersey, Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Robinson said in a news release.
The affidavit in support of the seizure warrants indicates some of the websites sold caps allegedly sold by New Era Cap, the U.S. Attorney's office said.
"As we remind consumers, buying knockoffs doesn't pay off," James Spero, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Buffalo, said in the news release. "Those who sell counterfeit merchandise are robbing from the legitimate companies, many of them U.S.-based, that make these products. And perhaps most important, they're hurting the men and women who depend on those companies for their livelihood. Intellectual property theft amounts to economic sabotage, which is why HSI will continue to aggressively pursue product counterfeiters and those who sell counterfeit products."
And it wasn't just sports merchandise counterfeits that were being sold.
The U.S. Attorney's office has also arrested Gary Hammer, 47, of Cheektowaga. He's accused of selling counterfeit Microsoft products on Craigslist.
Back in October, Microsoft asked him to stop those sales, but he continued. Federal agents arrested Hammer last Wednesday.