By Gautham Nagesh - 02/14/11 08:25 PM EST
U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) seized 18 Web domains on Monday for allegedly selling counterfeit goods from brands like Chanel, Prada and Tiffany & Co.
"Even on Valentine's Day, American business is under assault from counterfeiters and pirates," said ICE Director John Morton in a statement.
"These counterfeits represent a triple threat by delivering shoddy, and sometimes dangerous, goods into commerce, by funding organized criminal activities and by denying Americans good-paying jobs."
Federal agents made undercover purchases of items including handbags, rings, sunglasses and watches representing 14 major brands: Breitling, Burberry, Chanel, Coach, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Nike, Omega, Patek Philipe, Prada, Rolex, Tiffany & Co. and Timberland.
In most cases, the items were shipped to the U.S. from suppliers in foreign countries using express mail. Once the goods were confirmed as counterfeit or otherwise illegal, ICE issued seizure orders for the domains.
Visitors who visit the domains, which include ONSALETIFFANY.COM, SHOPPING-LOUIS-VUITTON.COM and STORE-AOL.COM, will now see the banner from ICE pictured above, informing them the domain has been seized.
ICE began seizing domains last November as part of the Obama administration's crackdown on online piracy and counterfeiting. The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to reintroduce a bill it passed last year that would make it easier for the Justice Department to seize domains.