United States Attorney Brendan V. Johnson announced that an Ormand Beach, Florida, man convicted of Trafficking in Counterfeit Goods or Services was sentenced on July 18, 2013, by Chief Judge Jeffrey L. Viken, U.S. District Court.
Nir Giist, age 55, was sentenced to one year of probation, ordered to pay a $10,000 fine, and $70,000 in restitution to the victims, which include Monster Energy, The North Face, American Eagle, and Rovio Entertainment (Angry Birds.) Giist also owes $100 to the Federal Crime Victims Fund.
Between February 2010 and August 2011, Giist intentionally sold counterfeit, wearable items through a corporation named Sturgis Black Hills Rally S.D., LLC. Through that corporation, Giist and others owned or leased seven stores in the Black Hills where they sold counterfeit products, as well as legitimate products. The sale of the counterfeit goods, such as t-shirts, hats, pants, shorts, and other wearable items, were deliberately designed and marketed to deceive consumers, and violated the trademarks held by the victims.
“This case serves as a timely reminder that with an event the magnitude of the upcoming Sturgis Motorcycle Rally, there is an increased chance of counterfeit goods being sold or counterfeit money being used. I urge the public to be aware, and if there is a suspicion of counterfeit trafficking, they should contact law enforcement authorities immediately,” cautioned Johnson.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) will have special agents on hand at the 2013 Sturgis Motorcycle Rally to investigate allegations of illegal counterfeiting of trademark items.
"HSI takes violations of copyright and trademark laws seriously," said Eugene Paulauskas, acting deputy special agent in charge of HSI St. Paul, which covers South Dakota. “We will continue to pursue criminals who break these laws at events such as these in order to protect the public's health and safety.”
This case was investigated by HSI. Assistant U.S. Attorney Sarah B. Collins prosecuted the case.