Eight years for man who sold fake Disney merchandise

Steamboat Willie - Disney pinA US man has been jailed for eight years for illegally importing counterfeit Disney merchandise and selling it online.

58-year-old Larry James Allred pleaded guilty to trademark infringement in the case, which centred on the sale of fake Disney collectible pins made by a manufacturer in China. In addition to the jail term he also will have to pay more than $200,000 in restitution to Disney.

Allred and conspirator Robert Edward Smyrak (54) are reported to have sold almost a million of the pins for less than $1 apiece, dramatically undercutting the retail price of authentic pins which sell for between $6.95 and $14.95.

Smyrak was sentenced to one year in jail, three years of formal probation, and ordered to pay restitution.

US Customs and Border Protection officers and import specialists uncovered the fraudulent operation when they intercepted a parcel at Los Angeles International Airport addressed to Smyrak containing more than 150 pounds of counterfeit Disney pins.

The two men were arrested on April 14, 2011, and found to be in possession of more than 91,000 counterfeit pins. Allred has a 1975 prior strike conviction for rape and a 1978 prior strike conviction for kidnapping and rape.

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