Submitted photos and press release:
Last year, Homeland Security Investigation and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement recorded 28,000 seizures of counterfeit goods valued at $1.4 billion. One raid alone in Laredo, Texas, brought in 181,000 items valued at $42.9 million. The serious issue of counterfeit merchandise hits much closer to home, however, with ongoing investigations and detective work occurring each year at the New Era Field in Orchard Park throughout the Buffalo Bills season.
John K. Payne, senior detective with the Orchard Park Police Department will share his vast experience and knowledge about counterfeiting NFL products and other merchandise on Wednesday, March 6, at 1 p.m. in room T102 as part of Genesee Community College's Fashion Business Speaker Series. The event is free and open to the public. Limited seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Counterfeiting is a form of theft and seriously impacts businesses, the economy, and our society. The International Chamber of Commerce estimates nearly $500 billion in lost economic activity in one year alone as illegal competitors steal brands and products from legitimate companies who hold genuine trademarks and patents.
Many companies have invested years of research and millions of dollars in product development, typically they employ U.S. citizens, and also support local communities. Stealing revenue from these companies through counterfeiting their products not only affects their bottom line, but also significantly hurts their ability to innovate and invest back in the company and community.
This crime can also pose a serious health risk with products in the food and pharmaceutical industry.
Detective Payne began his efforts to curtail counterfeit merchandising at football games nearly ten years ago when the Buffalo Bills alerted local law enforcement that numerous vendors were selling illegal items outside the stadium. NFL officials worked closed with the Orchard Park Police Department to train key members of the force to identify legitimate products against the counterfeit.
Detective Payne assembled a task force which included the assistance of federal agencies. In the past few years, numerous arrests have been made including a major supplier, and thousands of dollars of counterfeit merchandise has been seized and destroyed.
With more than 25 years in law enforcement, including 20 years with the OPPD, Detective Payne has a broad base of experience in criminal justice. He has been a SWAT Team member, sniper, observer, major crimes and fire investigator, as well as an instructor with the Erie County Police Academy. He earned both a master's degree in Police Administration and Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Hilbert College.
"This is the first time the Fashion Business Lecture Series has covered the topic of counterfeit merchandising, and we are honored to have Detective Payne share his expertise to our campus and community," said Laura Taylor, instructor of Fashion Business.
"This is not only an important subject to my fashion business students, but GCC's criminal justice and business students will also gain a vast amount of information from his lecture."
Below, Orchard Park Police Department Senior Detective John K. Payne and some counterfeit NFL merchandise.