Counterfeiting Case Plea Made
One of three defendants charged with selling counterfeited brands of golf equipment on eBay will serve time in prison as a result of a plea agreement.
Warren Fondrie pleaded guilty to a dozen counts of the criminal use of counterfeit trademarks in Moore County Superior Court Thursday.
Cases against his father, Donald Fondrie, and another defendant, Pei-i Chou, on similar charges, were held over until the May term of court.
Warren Fondrie will serve 10 consecutive sentences of eight to 10 months in prison. He will have to pay restitution of $253,338, which was based on estimated gross sales exceeding $150,000 and including lost profits and other charges.
Evidence to support the plea showed that Fondrie peddled fake brands from Titleist, Eton, Ping Putters, Callaway Golf, Adidas tailor-made, Nike, Lacoste and others, the state said.
"The secretary of state's office investigated the case," said Assistant District Attorney Peter Strickland.
Search warrants executed Dec. 4, 2007, at the Fondrie home found numerous golf grips, club covers, ball markers, shirts, hats, and other merchandise, as well as electronic equipment, according to Strickland.
"The companies check places like flea markets and online auctions," Strickland said. "One complaint due to eBay auctions came from Lisa Rogan of the Acushnet company -- they make Titleist brand equipment -- said Don and Warren conducted to sell golf grips and other items. She requested those auctions be shut down, but shortly after they were back up. She called Raleigh, and investigation found that throughout 2007 they made a number of eBay sales. The merchandise had been received, delivered by mail."
U.S. Postal Service inspectors got involved after that and were able to document the deliveries, while eBay records tracked the sales, according to Strickland.
Attorney Rich Costanza represented Warren Fondrie.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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