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June 13, 2013Buffalo, NYUnited StatesIntellectual Property Rights and Commercial Fraud

New York man pleads guilty in 'Sons of Anarchy' counterfeiting case

New York man pleads guilty in 'Sons of Anarchy' counterfeiting case
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A Savannah man pleaded guilty Wednesday to trafficking in counterfeit goods involving the sale of unauthorized merchandise from the popular FX Network television series "Sons of Anarchy." The plea follows an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

Ryan Breen, 33, faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2 million fine.

"Counterfeiters cheat legitimate businesses of income and by doing so cheat America's workers out of good, paying jobs at a time when we need them most. Most importantly, they cheat their customers with low quality knock-off products masquerading as the real thing," said James C. Spero, special agent in charge of HSI Buffalo. "HSI has taken an aggressive posture in protecting the intellectual property rights of businesses that create jobs, pay taxes that help support our local communities and help to drive the American economy."

According to court documents, Breen was identified as the owner and operator of various websites which offered for sale over the Internet counterfeit t-shirts and goods using the Sons of Anarchy trademark without the permission of the Twentieth Century Fox Entertainment Group (Fox), the producer and exclusive owner of the "Sons of Anarchy" TV series. The defendant's websites were seized by federal agents as part of a nationwide crackdown aimed at combating intellectual property theft. Through his websites, Breen had sold more than $75,000 worth of customized Sons of Anarchy clothes, hats and other items that infringed the trademark of Fox.

The case was prosecuted by Special Assistant U.S. Attorney Fauzia K. Mattingly from the Western District of New York.

HSI manages the HSI-led National Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Coordination Center in Washington. The IPR Center is one of the U.S. government's key weapons in the fight against criminal counterfeiting and piracy. As a task force, the IPR Center uses the expertise of its 21 member agencies to share information, develop initiatives, coordinate enforcement actions and conduct investigations related to IP theft. Through this strategic interagency partnership, the IPR Center protects the public's health and safety, the U.S. economy and the war fighters.

To report IP theft or to learn more about the HSI-led IPR Center, visit

Updated: 09/22/2014