Missouri couple sentenced for selling counterfeit Disney movies

A federal judge has sentenced a Columbia couple for their part in a scam to smuggle counterfeit Disney DVDs into the US and sell them on eBay.

US District Judge Roseann Ketchmark sentenced Tabitha Nicole Rodgers (43) and her husband Clint Travis Rodgers (49) four years and one year, respectively, in federal prison without parole.

Tabitha Rodgers was also order to pay $26,573 in restitution to the government for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme (SNAP) benefits she was not entitled to receive, while Clint Rodgers received a $10,000 fine.

In October 2021, Tabitha Rodgers pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement for profit, while Clint Rodgers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal infringement of a copyright.

The cases dates back to 2014, when Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received information from the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Centre indicating that Clint Rodgers had received more than 443 shipments of counterfeit DVDs from companies in Hong Kong known to sell and export counterfeit goods.

HSI agents identified two shipments that had been seized prior to delivery to the couple’s home in Columbia. One shipment contained 200 counterfeit Beauty and the Beast DVDs and another shipment contained 260 counterfeit Aladdin DVDs.  In February 2015, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents also seized a parcel addressed to Clint Rodgers that contained 200 counterfeit Disney DVDs.

Undercover federal agents purchased several counterfeit Disney DVDs from the couple on eBay in February and March 2015. The pair represented that the DVDs were genuine and authentic Disney products, though they were aware the products were counterfeit.

During the investigation, agents contacted two persons who assisted the couple in selling counterfeit DVDs on eBay. They told agents they were aware of numerous complaints from customers, including complaints that the DVDs didn’t work. A search at the Rodgers' home revealed assortment of counterfeit goods, including numerous counterfeit Disney DVDs.

Tabitha Rodgers admitted that she conducted the business’s day-to-day operations. She corresponded via email with the counterfeit DVD supplier in Hong Kong and placed orders for the DVDs. She also packaged and sent the DVDs to customers and processed customer complaints when DVDs were inoperable. Clint Rodgers assisted by helping recruit third parties to use their eBay accounts to sell the DVDs.

According to court documents, most or all of the couple’s income was derived from this criminal activity. They had been notified by Beachbody and Otter Products to cease and desist from selling counterfeit products; eBay cancelled a number of the pair’s accounts for selling counterfeit merchandise, but they recruited others to sell the products.

Although they derived substantial income from selling counterfeit goods, Tabitha Rodgers sought and obtained SNAP benefits from the government to which she was not entitled. Her fraudulent conduct in obtaining benefits was considered by the court in determining an appropriate sentence and in ordering restitution.

Photo by Cameron Bunney on Unsplash

Related articles:

     Want our news sent directly to your inbox?

Yes please 2


Home  |  About us  |  Contact us  |  Advertise  |  Links  |  Partners  |  Privacy Policy  |   |  RSS feed   |  back to top