LAFAYETTE MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO SELLING FAKE APPLE MERCHANDISE
LAFAYETTE, La. – United States Attorney Stephanie A. Finley announced that Brennan LeBlanc, 37, of Lafayette, pleaded guilty Friday before U.S. District Judge Richard T. Haik to trafficking in counterfeit Apple, Inc. products.
According to evidence presented at the guilty plea, in May of 2012, Apple, Inc. investigators informed U.S. Homeland Security investigators that Iphonelafayette.com, which LeBlanc owns andlocated on Kaliste Saloom Road in Lafayette, was selling counterfeit iPhone merchandise. Apple investigators told authorities that the Lafayette company’s website had several pictures containing counterfeit items.
On May 9, 2012, HSI agents along with a private investigator working for Apple entered the Kaliste Saloom store. The private investigator was an industry representative who specialized in trademark and copyright infringement investigations. The investigator purchased several covers displaying the brand insignia for Louis Vuitton, Coach, Otter Box, and Apple for $100; the cases purchased were counterfeit. Additionally, on January 15, 2013, an undercover Louisiana State Police trooper purchased an Apple iPhone sleeve and Luis Vuitton case from the store, which were also determined to be counterfeit. The undercover trooper spoke with Leblanc who advised that additional similar counterfeit cases would be delivered the next week.
On January 25, 2013, HSI searched the business and discovered numerous counterfeit items, including 31 Louis Vuitton iPhone cases, 8 Coach iPhone cases, 241 Otter Box iPhone cases, and 427 Apple iPhone cases. LeBlanc admitted that all of the cases were counterfeit.
LeBlanc faces up to 10 years in prison, a $2 million fine, and three years of supervised release for trafficking in counterfeit goods or services. A sentencing date was not set.
Homeland Security Investigations, Louisiana State Police, and Apple, Inc. conducted the investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Myers P. Namie is prosecuting the case.