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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Virginia

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Altavista Man Sentenced For Trafficking In Counterfeit Goods

George E. Hall Sold Phony Sports Apparel

LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – An Altavista, Va. man, who previously pled guilty to charges related to trafficking in counterfeit sports apparel, was sentenced today in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia in Lynchburg.

George E. Hall, 46, of Altavista., Va., previously pled guilty to one count of trafficking in goods bearing counterfeit marks and one count of copyright infringement. Today in U.S. District Court, Hall was sentenced to five months incarceration and five months of home confinement. In addition, Hall was ordered to pay approximately $64,000 in restitution.

“The jerseys Mr. Hall sold to consumers were labeled as authentic,” United States Attorney Timothy J. Heaphy said today. “In reality, they were counterfeit. Mr. Hall’s fraud misled customers and deprived the authentic manufacturers of sales. This case demonstrates our commitment to protecting the integrity of the marketplace and holding counterfeiters accountable.”

“Trafficking in counterfeit merchandise is a multi-billion dollar global enterprise," said Katrina W. Berger, acting special agent in charge of HSI Washington. "HSI is committed to dismantling these schemes to prevent trans-national criminal organizations from profiting by conducting this type of illicit business."

Hall previously admitted to trafficking in counterfeit sports jerseys and DVDs from his Altavista home. The defendant admitted to importing counterfeit sports jerseys, hats, necklaces, bracelets and sunglasses, from China and Hong Kong and then selling those items to other vendors who sold the items at trade shows and at a local store.

During several undercover buys by agents of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Hall admitted to receiving several letters from U.S. Customs and Border Protection Services advising him that items he was importing from China and Hong Kong were being seized because they were counterfeit. Even after receiving these letters, Hall continued the practice of importing counterfeit goods and simply changed the shipping address information.

The defendant also admitted to downloading and reproducing copyright infringed movies and selling these movies to others. Hall has admitted that he was aware that both the importation and sale of counterfeit clothing items and the downloading and sale of pirated movies were illegal. In all, agents recovered approximately 3,500 movies, 480 sports jerseys and 135 hats.

The investigation of the case was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant United States Attorney Daniel Bubar prosecuted the case for the United States.

Updated April 15, 2015