TODAY   |  January 31, 2013

Rossen Reports: Cracking down on Super Bowl fakes

As New Orleans gears up for Sunday’s Super Bowl, the city has become flooded with fans who are buying all the souvenirs they can. NBC’s Jeff Rossen joins a team of federal investigators on the hunt for NFL counterfeits, which can be used to generate money for major crimes.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> criminal enterprise in full force at the super bowl . jeff rossen is in norms. good morning to you.

>> good morning. the excitement is building at she super bowl and surrounding it, fans are flooding this area and what are they doing? buying everything they can find like hats and jerseys. some items are counterfeit. these items now are fake. i know you're think, who cares? still getting a hat and 30. officials say some of the money is going to support criminals nationwide, even gangs. and this morning we're with investigators as they crack down.

>> reporter: in this super bowl frenzy, officials say criminals are now targeting the fans. they're selling nfl merchandise up and down these streets?

>> yes, they are.

>> reporter: we went out with this team of federal investigators from homeland security and immigration and customs, on the hunt for nfl counterfeit. we got exclusive access.

>> do you have any jerseys behind the counter, ma'am?

>> reporter: hitting store after store.

>> can i take a look at the jersey you have behind your counter?

>> reporter: finding fake after fake after fake. merchandise that looks so real, even the experts have to look twice.

>> why should the average person at homecare about this?

>> reporter: the proceeds from the sale of these items support criminal enterprises, like dancing, drug organizations and networks.

>> reporter: and they say the criminals are getting better at fooling you. these nfl hats have logo all over them even the official nfl looking hologram. that's fake, too.

>> this particular hologram, as you can e, is a shiny piece of paper.

>> reporter: most of it is shipped in from china. officials try to stop it at the ports but they can't keep up. at this store, officials seized three dozen counterfeit jerseys.

>> jeff rossen from nbc news.

>> i don't want to talk, thanks so much.

>> reporter: we have questions of the store manager . do you feel bad about selling counterfeit goods ?

>> of course. this is the first time i know those jerseys are counterfeit.

>> reporter: so why was he selling them way under market value.

>> the price too low. selling them for $49.99. the official jerseys are right around $250.

>> reporter: we called the store owner but never heard back.

>> hello. you have any jerseys for sale, sir?

>> reporter: at this next store, investigators confiscated more jerseys and hats and the owner said he had no idea they're fakes.

>> where did you get these hats?

>> a guy coming around and selling them.

>> does that sound like official nfl , a guy coming around and selling them?

>> i don't know.

>> reporter: but investigators say this next store knew. the owner tried to pull a fast one.

>> do you have any nfl merchandise?

>> reporter: but when they searched behind the counter, a whole bag full of fakes.

>> it is.

>> reporter: what does that tell you he hid this from you?

>> they know it's fake and it's wrong.

>> reporter: he said he's sorry. all these stores got a warning but in some cases prosecutors filed criminal charges . now, the feds have a message for counterfeiters.

>> they're perpetuating this kind of criminal activity , we're not going to give up until we find them.

>> reporter: secrinvestigators say this will get worse as we get close to sunday. the criminals, they're smart. but they haven't mastered the stitching for some reason. all frayed edges. turn the jersey inside-out. does it look like this, with all the frayed edges around it. that is a fake. let me grab a real jersey. this is a real ravens nfl approved. you turn this one inside-out. look, no stitchesal all. it is absolutely flawless. one of the things we should mention, it's not just stores, savannah. feds are announcing today, they're shutting down more than 300 websites selling counterfeits, too.

>> the price tag is higher on a real one, too.