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Eight sentenced for selling Nike, NFL knock-offs

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Eight sentenced for selling Nike, NFL knock-offs
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On Friday in federal court in Fergus Falls, Minn., eight individuals were sentenced for trafficking counterfeit goods, including NFL and NHL jerseys as well as Nike sportswear.

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United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim sentenced all eight on one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The eight defendants were charged July 20in a superseding indictment, according to a news release from the U.S.Attorney's office in Minneapolis.

- Christopher Walter Ashmore, 39, of Bemidji, was convicted Jan. 20, while the other seven pleaded guilty. Ashmore was sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to pay $26,482 in restitution.

- Charles Freddie Thompson, 41, of Long Prairie, Minn., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay $181,673 in restitution.

- Patricia Ann Thompson, Charles Thompson's wife, 39, of Long Prairie, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $13,047 in restitution.

- Darrell Leroy Thompson, Charles Thompson's father, 68, of Long Prairie, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $8,275 in restitution.

- William Clifford Bakken, 67, of Plymouth, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5,403 in restitution.

- Robert Anthony Ingebretson, 50, of Alexandria, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $4,662 in restitution.

E Frederick Allen Degerstrom, 34, of Duluth, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $10,092 in restitution.

- James William Braun Jr., 42, of Milaca, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $3,125 in restitution.

According to evidence presented at Ashmore's trial, between February and December 2009, he conspired with others to traffic counterfeit sportswear. He received the counterfeit goods from Charles Thompson, intending to resell them to customers in his store, Homerun Sports in Bemidji. On Dec. 4, 2009, Ashmore possessed approximately 192 items of counterfeit sportswear in his store.

In their plea agreements, the other defendants in this case admitted that from September 2007 through December 2009, they conspired to traffic in counterfeit trademarked sports apparel. Charles Thompson ordered the counterfeit apparel from his suppliers in China and elsewhere and had the items shipped to his residence as well as to other residences. He also had an agreement with Bakken, Ingebretson and others to purchase the counterfeit apparel, knowing it would be resold for a profit. In addition, Charles Thompson recruited others to help him wire money to China for payment of the counterfeit goods.

One of those recruited was his wife, who admittedly wired money to China for payment of counterfeit sportswear on 21 occasions between Jan. 22, 2008, and July 10, 2009, totaling $51,975. In addition, on Nov. 23, 2009, she accepted delivery at her residence of 11 parcels from China, containing a total of 133 counterfeit NFL jerseys. Bakken admitted purchasing the counterfeit items from Charles Thompson in order to resell them for a profit. On Nov. 23, 2009, he was present at Charles Thompson's residence when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant. At the time, he admitted he was in the act of purchasing approximately $2,500 worth of counterfeit apparel. Police found 146 counterfeit items in Bakken's vehicle.

In his plea agreement, Ingebretson admitted participating in the conspiracy from December 2008 through December 2009. In addition, he admitted that 123 counterfeit NFL jerseys, 13 counterfeit NHL jerseys, and four counterfeit NFL T-shirts were seized at his Alexandria-based store, Sportsminded, on Dec. 1, 2009.

In his plea agreement, Degerstrom admitted purchasing counterfeit sportswear from Charles Thompson on a recurring basis, the purpose being to resell the apparel to others for a profit. On Nov. 6, 2009, law enforcement seized 709 counterfeit items from Degerstrom's store, Fred and Mark's Sports World, in Duluth. Degerstrom was subsequently convicted and sentenced in state court for those counterfeit items. After Nov. 6, 2009, however, Degerstrom continued to sell counterfeit sportswear on the e-Bay Internet site. On April 23, 2009, authorities executed a search warrant at Degerstrom's residence and seized 68 counterfeit items.

In his plea agreement, Darrell Thompson admitted agreeing on behalf of his son to receive counterfeit items at his residence. That merchandise came from China and elsewhere. On Nov. 23, 2009, he accepted 11 parcels from China, which contained a total of 155 counterfeit items. In addition, authorities intercepted a package addressed to Darrell Thompson that contained 49 counterfeit NFL jerseys.

One related defendant, who was charged separately, Adam Courtland, 39, of North Mankato, Minn., is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Minneapolis May 3.

Courtland, who was charged Sept. 29, 2010, pleaded guilty Nov. 3, 2010, to one count of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods. In his plea agreement, Courtland admitted receiving counterfeit sports apparel from Charles Thompson and then re-selling it in his sporting goods shop.

Following Friday's sentencings, Mike Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Bloomington, Minn., said, "The creation, smuggling and sale of counterfeit goods are not victimless crimes. Products that are produced and sold illegally are a threat to the health and safety of the public, harm trademark holders, are distributed by organized crime groups and are then sold to the detriment of local businesses and communities who derive no financial gain from illegal sales. ICE HSI is committed to an aggressive approach toward enforcing the nation's intellectual property rights laws."

These cases are the result of an investigation by ICE HSI. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.

On Friday in federal court in Fergus Falls, Minn., eight individuals were sentenced for trafficking counterfeit goods, including NFL and NHL jerseys as well as Nike sportswear.

United States District Court Judge John R. Tunheim sentenced all eight on one count of trafficking in counterfeit goods. The eight defendants were charged July 20in a superseding indictment.

- Christopher Walter Ashmore, 39, of Bemidji, was convicted Jan. 20, while the other seven pleaded guilty. Ashmore was sentenced to six months in federal prison and ordered to pay $26,482 in restitution.

- Charles Freddie Thompson, 41, of Long Prairie, Minn., was sentenced to 12 months and one day in federal prison and ordered to pay $181,673 in restitution.

- Patricia Ann Thompson, Charles Thompson's wife, 39, of Long Prairie, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $13,047 in restitution.

- Darrell Leroy Thompson, Charles Thompson's father, 68, of Long Prairie, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $8,275 in restitution.

- William Clifford Bakken, 67, of Plymouth, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5,403 in restitution.

- Robert Anthony Ingebretson, 50, of Alexandria, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $4,662 in restitution.

- Frederick Allen Degerstrom, 34, of Duluth, was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $10,092 in restitution.

- James William Braun Jr., 42, of Milaca, Minn., was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $3,125 in restitution.

According to evidence presented at Ashmore's trial, between February and December 2009, he conspired with others to traffic counterfeit sportswear. He received the counterfeit goods from Charles Thompson, intending to resell them to customers in his store, Homerun Sports in Bemidji. On Dec. 4, 2009, Ashmore possessed approximately 192 items of counterfeit sportswear in his store.

In their plea agreements, the other defendants in this case admitted that from September 2007 through December 2009, they conspired to traffic in counterfeit trademarked sports apparel. Charles Thompson ordered the counterfeit apparel from his suppliers in China and elsewhere and had the items shipped to his residence as well as to other residences. He also had an agreement with Bakken, Ingebretson and others to purchase the counterfeit apparel, knowing it would be resold for a profit. In addition, Charles Thompson recruited others to help him wire money to China for payment of the counterfeit goods.

One of those recruited was his wife, who admittedly wired money to China for payment of counterfeit sportswear on 21 occasions between Jan. 22, 2008, and July 10, 2009, totaling $51,975. In addition, on Nov. 23, 2009, she accepted delivery at her residence of 11 parcels from China, containing a total of 133 counterfeit NFL jerseys. Bakken admitted purchasing the counterfeit items from Charles Thompson in order to resell them for a profit. On Nov. 23, 2009, he was present at Charles Thompson's residence when law enforcement officers executed a search warrant. At the time, he admitted he was in the act of purchasing approximately $2,500 worth of counterfeit apparel. Police found 146 counterfeit items in Bakken's vehicle.

In his plea agreement, Ingebretson admitted participating in the conspiracy from December 2008 through December 2009. In addition, he admitted that 123 counterfeit NFL jerseys, 13 counterfeit NHL jerseys, and four counterfeit NFL T-shirts were seized at his Alexandria-based store, Sportsminded, on Dec. 1, 2009.

In his plea agreement, Degerstrom admitted purchasing counterfeit sportswear from Charles Thompson on a recurring basis, the purpose being to resell the apparel to others for a profit. On Nov. 6, 2009, law enforcement seized 709 counterfeit items from Degerstrom's store, Fred and Mark's Sports World, in Duluth. Degerstrom was subsequently convicted and sentenced in state court for those counterfeit items. After Nov. 6, 2009, however, Degerstrom continued to sell counterfeit sportswear on the e-Bay Internet site. On April 23, 2009, authorities executed a search warrant at Degerstrom's residence and seized 68 counterfeit items.

In his plea agreement, Darrell Thompson admitted agreeing on behalf of his son to receive counterfeit items at his residence. That merchandise came from China and elsewhere. On Nov. 23, 2009, he accepted 11 parcels from China, which contained a total of 155 counterfeit items. In addition, authorities intercepted a package addressed to Darrell Thompson that contained 49 counterfeit NFL jerseys.

One related defendant, who was charged separately, Adam Courtland, 39, of North Mankato, Minn., is scheduled to be sentenced in federal court in Minneapolis May 3.

Courtland, who was charged Sept. 29, 2010, pleaded guilty Nov. 3, 2010, to one count of conspiracy to traffic counterfeit goods. In his plea agreement, Courtland admitted receiving counterfeit sports apparel from Charles Thompson and then re-selling it in his sporting goods shop.

Following Friday's sentencings, Mike Feinberg, Special Agent in Charge of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations in Bloomington, Minn., said, "The creation, smuggling and sale of counterfeit goods are not victimless crimes. Products that are produced and sold illegally are a threat to the health and safety of the public, harm trademark holders, are distributed by organized crime groups and are then sold to the detriment of local businesses and communities who derive no financial gain from illegal sales. ICE HSI is committed to an aggressive approach toward enforcing the nation's intellectual property rights laws."

These cases are the result of an investigation by ICE HSI. They are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey S. Paulsen.

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