Over 100 sites seized in Cyber Monday blitz

Websites selling counterfeit goods have been seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and European colleagues in a Cyber Monday sting.

WASHINGTON - U.S. and European authorities seized 132 domain names in a counterfeit goods crackdown linked to Cyber Monday, what is considered to be online bargain day, the head of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said.

ICE agents seized 101 domain names in the United States. Officers in Britain, Romania, Belgium, France, Denmark and the European Police Office (Europol), took over 31 more sites, ICE Director John Morton said.

The sites, many linked to organized crime, were selling fake goods that ranged from National Football League jerseys and Nike Inc shoes to Adobe Systems Inc software, he said.

"There is much money to be made out there duping consumers, and that is what is going on," Morton said on a conference call.

Investigations are ongoing and more sites will be seized in coming days.

ICE confirmed that one U.S. arrest had been made.

The crackdown marks the third year that ICE has targeted websites selling counterfeit goods on Cyber Monday. It is the first time the agency has carried out the operation with European police.

The Cyber Monday seizures raise the total number of U.S. sites taken over to 1,630 since ICE began its anti-counterfeit campaign in June 2010.

PayPal accounts identified with the sites, holding a total of more than $175,000, are being targeted for seizure, the ICE statement said.

Morton put the scale of online piracy in the billions of dollars. Much of the online counterfeiting is in China and other parts of Asia, and U.S. authorities are working with China on the problem, he said.