LYNCHBURG, Va. — An Altavista man, who previously pleaded guilty to charges related to trafficking in counterfeit sports apparel, was sentenced Tuesday to five months in prison, followed by five months of home confinement. The sentence resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Washington.
As part of his sentence, George E. Hall, 46, must also pay approximately $64,000 in restitution.
"Trafficking in counterfeit merchandise is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise," said Katrina W. Berger, acting special agent in charge of HSI Washington. "HSI is committed to dismantling these schemes to prevent trans-national criminal organizations from profiting by conducting this type of illicit business."
"The jerseys Mr. Hall sold to consumers were labeled as authentic," U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said. "In reality, they were counterfeit. Mr. Hall's fraud misled customers and deprived the authentic manufacturers of sales. This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of the marketplace and holding counterfeiters accountable."
Hall previously trafficked counterfeit sports jerseys and DVDs from his home and admitted to importing counterfeit sports jerseys, hats, necklaces, bracelets and sunglasses, from China and Hong Kong. He then sold those items to vendors who resold the items at trade shows and at a local store.
During several undercover buys by HSI special agents, Hall admitted he received several letters from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The letters informed Hall that CBP had seized items he had imported from China and Hong Kong because they were counterfeit. Even after receiving these letters, Hall continued to import counterfeit goods and simply changed the shipping address information.
Hall also downloaded and reproduced copyright-infringed movies and sold them.
In all, agents recovered approximately 3,500 movies, 480 sports jerseys and 135 hats.