Corrected Version: Counterfeiting Case Plea Made
One of three defendants charged with selling counterfeited brands of golf equipment on eBay was sentenced to serve 10 consecutive 6- to 8-month terms in prison. The sentences were suspended five years as a result of an agreement in exchange for a guilty plea.
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, on similar charges, were held over until the May term of court.
Warren Fondrie will not have to serve 60 to 80 months in prison if he complies with all the terms of his probation. One is that he will pay restitution of $253,338.83 based on estimated gross sales exceeding $150,000, including lost profits and other charges. If he does not pay that, his probation could be revoked and he could go to prison as a result.
Evidence to support the plea showed that Fondrie peddled fake brands from Titleist, Eton, Ping Putters, Callaway Golf, Adidas TaylorMade, 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.
Fondrie, in a brief telephone interview Monday, said he intends to comply with all the terms of his probation and will be paying the money as ordered by the court.
A third defendant, Pei-i Chou, is presently in the custody of immigration authorities and is expected to be deported back to Taiwan. Fondrie said she volunteered for exclusion, but the office of the Moore County District Attorney could not confirm that.
Attorney Rich Costanza represented Warren Fondrie.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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