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Intellectual Property Rights
03/06/2013

Los Angeles-area man convicted of importing counterfeit Disney pins to sell on the Internet

Los Angeles-area man   linked to online sale of bogus Disney collector's pins pleads guilty.
Samples of some of   the thousands of counterfeit pins seized in the case.
Samples of some of the thousands of counterfeit pins seized in the case.

SANTA ANA, Calif. – A Southern California man is expected to be sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty Wednesday to state charges stemming from a probe by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Anaheim Police Department that revealed he illegally imported counterfeit collectible Disney pins from China and sold them over the Internet.

Larry James Allred, 58, of Walnut, pleaded guilty to one felony state count of trademark infringement with sentencing enhancements for property loss of more than $200,000. He further admitted to a 1975 prior conviction for rape and a 1978 prior conviction for kidnapping and rape, which make him subject to an enhanced sentence under California's "Three Strikes Law." Allred's sentencing is set for July 15. In addition to the eight-year prison term, it is expected he will be ordered to pay $201,000 restitution.

Allred's co-defendant Robert Edward Smyrak, 54, of Anaheim, pleaded guilty Sept. 29, 2011, to one felony count of trademark infringement. He was sentenced to one year in jail, three years of formal probation, and ordered to pay restitution.

Between January 2010 and April 2011, Allred worked with Smyrak in the fraudulent scheme by sending legitimate collectible Disney pins to a manufacturer in China to be replicated and shipped back to them. Allred and Smyrak then sold the counterfeit pins over the Internet, while passing them off as collectibles.

Smyrak and Allred sold nearly one million counterfeit items on Internet auction sites in bulk quantities averaging less than $1 per pin. The retail price of genuine Disney collectible pins ranges from $6.95 to $14.95.

The scheme was discovered in February 2011 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers intercepted a parcel at Los Angeles International Airport addressed to Smyrak containing more than 150 pounds of counterfeit Disney pins. Smyrak and Allred were arrested April 14, 2011, by ICE HSI and the Anaheim Police Department.