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16,000 Fake Hermes Bags Worth $210 Million Seized In Long Beach

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Customs agents at the Los Angeles/Long Beach port have seized more than 16,000 counterfeit Hermes handbags.

The faux designer bags would have likely sold for $295,665 on the cheap at flea markets or on the street, authorities said. If they had gone for the full retail price expected of a genuine Hermes bag, they would have netted $210 million, Lee Harty of U.S Customs and Border Protection told City News Service.

"This illustrates the potentially high profit margins in such an illegal venture," Harty said, pointing out the obvious.

The seizures took place between June 6 and September 17. The 16,053 counterfeit bags were mixed in with with legitimate shipments of lower-end unmarked bags, the Press Enterprise Blog reports.

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The shipments came from China and Hong Kong and were set to be distributed through Southern California and Texas, custom agents told the press yesterday at the Department of Homeland Security's seized property warehouse in Riverside.

Real French Hermes handbags can usually retail for a whopping $9,400 to $18,000 per bag, according to Elva Muneton, assistant port director of trade.

"People think they're probably getting a deal by not paying the $5,000 to $10,000 costs," Muneton told the Press Enterprise Blog. "Unless you look closely, you may not really tell its counterfeit." She added to ABC 7 that people who pay only $300 for an "Hermes bag" surely know it's not the real deal.

The bags have the same trademark hexagon symbol as Hermes, but instead of crafted leather, they may be made of plastic or with poor stitching, Muneton said.

The fake bags have since been destroyed.

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