Selling fakes on sites like eBay is wrong, but it’s also criminal, a fact some online sellers may ignore through willful blindness or, in some cases perhaps, financial desperation. A plea deal announced today is a reminder there can be serious consequences to dealing in counterfeits, including a prison sentence.
A Missouri couple pleaded guilty in federal court today to a scheme to smuggle counterfeit Disney DVDs into the United States and sell them on eBay.
The Department of Justice said shipments of counterfeit DVDs from companies in Hong Kong “known to sell and export counterfeit goods” were delivered to the couple’s home.
The DOJ also said during an investigation, agents contacted two people who allegedly assisted the couple in selling counterfeit DVDs on eBay. They allegedly told agents they were aware of numerous complaints from customers, including complaints that the DVDs didn’t work. According to the Grand Jury indictment in 2018, one of those people was a family member.
The indictment charged that the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of the counterfeit goods sold by the defendants was approximately $2.2 million. (The government dropped numerous charges as part of the plea deal.)
According to the DOJ press release, the wife, who pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement for profit, is subject to a sentence of up to five years in federal prison without parole.
The husband, who pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal infringement of a copyright, is subject to a sentence of up to one year in federal prison without parole.
Making a business of selling fake Disney DVDs on eBay may jeopardize your selling account – but it could also land you in prison.