The Rolex Man Sees His Fake Watches Get Steamrolled

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By Kamika Dunlap on April 30, 2010 12:45 PM

The government is coming down hard on product counterfeiting in Philadelphia. A steamroller crushed about 7,000 fake Rolex watches once hawked by the "Rolex Man."

The bulldozing event was staged under orders of federal authorities as the culmination of an international multimillion-dollar federal counterfeiting case, the Philly.com reports. 

The goal of the staged destruction was to highlight law enforcement's role in protecting intellectual property rights. The event took place on World Intellectual Property Rights Day.

The phony Rolex watches were seized from Binh Cam Tran, 53, known as "the Rolex guy" on Canal Street in New York, where alleged counterfeit goods are largely sold. There, he sold his phony watches for "wholesale" counterfeit prices of $25 to $100 apiece, officials said.

The one time Rolex Man pleaded guilty last year to charges including trafficking in counterfeit goods, conspiracy and nine counts of money laundering. In addition, he was ordered to pay more than $2.2 million in restitution to Rolex USA.

Tran is now serving six years in federal prison.

Officials seized 24,000 counterfeit watches and enough parts to create 1 million more from the illegal-Rolex manufacturer's home.

Tran started off as a legitimate watchmaker on Jewelers Row in Philadelphia and then got into the counterfeit world, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

He specialized in Diver-style Rolex, which cost more than $10,000 in an authorized store after being made at the Rolex factory in Geneva, Switzerland, Philly.com reports.

Officials also found molds, dies, print machines and stamp presses to imprint Rolex trademarks in Tran's home.

Tran managed to elude being captured for five years before landing in federal prison in 2009.