Exclusive: 15K counterfeit hoverboards seized in 4 months

Los Angeles is one of the country's top cities for imports of counterfeit hoverboards.

Officials at U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) say a big reason for that is where we are, geographically, since most of them come from China.

In recent seizures, CBP seized 5,500 single unit boxes of boards from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach for analysis. They say many they have looked at are inferior because they have counterfeit lithium-ion batteries and may also have chargers made in an inferior way.

"We've had 15,000 plus thru this port since Oct-Nov which is when they started to become popular," Roxanne Comey with CBP said.

Officials say those 15,000 are valued at just over $2.1 million and predominantly come from China.

If not seized, they're put on containers and sold out on the streets for as much as $400 a board.

The crime is at the very least trademark infringement. Importers can face serious penalties and loss of license if convicted.

Jorge Garcia is the Acting Asst. Director for Trade at the Los Angeles Field Office. He says a counterfeit battery can be put together by anyone in a foreign country and wrapped together.

So, "the circuitry inside could be bad. the cells could be bad," he said.

According to the officials, the bad boys bringing these into the country often give themselves away with the brand names they use like Samsung.

However, Garcia says Samsung does not make a lithium-ion battery for hoverboards and, as a result, "is an unauthorized use of their mark making this battery counterfeit."

After officers have gone through these and determined if there's something that's a violation that needs to be further investigated then it goes to another department of Homeland Security for a more detailed look.

As for CBP, officers with the Los Angeles office say there are hoverboards from China that are fine. But the ones that are not fine are still coming arriving by the boatload.

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