Former recycling CEO jailed for trafficking in fake goods

The former CEO of an electronic recycling company has been given a jail sentence for trafficking in almost $1.5m-worth of counterfeit luxury goods.

Bob Erie (53), who was a co-founder of Vista, California-based E-World Recyclers, was charged with the offences in 2015 and pleaded guilty earlier this year - along with the firm's former chief operating officer Lyle De Stigter - after agreeing a plea deal with prosecutors.

Erie pleaded guilty to one felony charge of conspiracy, while De Stigter admitted to lying to the federal government. Erie has now been sentenced to 21 months in federal custody, while De Stigter was enrolled into a diversion programme and had his sentencing deferred for one year.

The case relates to a contract Erie obtained to destroy counterfeit merchandise seized by the federal government, including 2,275 fake watches bearing marks registered to Chanel, Gucci, Coach, Ed Hardy and other companies, 524 counterfeit Montblanc pens and 12 knock-off headphone sets contravening Bose trademarks.

"Instead of destroying or recycling the counterfeit goods as he was required to do (and as he certified), Erie instead diverted the counterfeit merchandise and trafficked in it for commercial advantage," according to the US Department of Justice.

"Erie instructed E-World employees to sign documents to submit to government agencies certifying the destruction of CBP-seized counterfeit goods. In fact, Erie knew that the goods had not all been destroyed," it said in a statement.

"This crime was especially egregious because of Erie's attempts to obstruct justice by falsifying e-mails, which were sent to the US Attorney's Office in an effort to avoid prosecution," continued the DoJ. During the case, it emerged that Erie doctored emails to make it appear he was authorised to resell the counterfeit goods.

Earlier this year, another recycling company CEO - Clifford Eric Lundgren (33) - was sentenced to 15 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to his involvement in a scam involving the copying, importation and sale of pirated Microsoft software but has appealed the verdict.

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