Christian charity gets bogus MLB gear seized in SF

No, that poor kid in Malawi isn’t necessarily a Giants fan: Counterfeit Major League Baseball clothing seized during last year’s playoffs and World Series will be donated to needy people overseas, the Department of Homeland Security announced.

DHS officials will hold a news conference tomorrow in San Francisco to show off some of the more than 2,000 items of counterfeit MLB clothing seized by agents with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations directorate in and around AT&T Park last fall. The feds estimate that had the merchandise been genuine, it would have retailed domestically for more than $150,000.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which has the bogus gear now, will turn the seized items over to World Vision – a “Christian humanitarian organization” based in Washington State helping impoverished children and families around the globe. “Motivated by our faith in Jesus Christ, we serve alongside the poor and oppressed as a demonstration of God’s unconditional love for all people,” the group’s website says.

“The sale of counterfeit goods causes immeasurable harm to the U.S. economy, but through charitable efforts like this, at least some good can come from these crimes,” Shane Folden, special agent in charge for ICE Homeland Security Investigations in San Francisco, said in a news release today.

ICE HSI and CBP intellectual property rights enforcement efforts led to nearly 20,000 seizures in FY 2010, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. The seized goods had a total value of $1.4 billion, based upon the manufacturer’s suggested retail price had the products been legitimate.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.