They Were Raking It In Selling Hundreds Of Counterfeit Disney DVDs. Then The Feds Noticed.
A Missouri couple who smuggled counterfeit Disney DVDs into the United States to sell on eBay are headed to prison.
The United States Attorney's Office in the western district of Missouri announced that Tabitha Nicole Rodgers, 43, and her husband, Clint Travis Rodgers, 49, of Columbia, Missouri, were sentenced to four years and one year in federal prison, respectively for the crime.
On Oct. 12, Tabitha Rodgers pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement for profit, while Clint Rodgers pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal infringement of a copyright.
In July 2014, Homeland Security Investigations was alerted by the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordinator Center that Clint Rodgers received more than 443 counterfeit DVDs from businesses in Hong Kong that are known to export counterfeit goods.
One shipment had 200 counterfeit "Beauty and the Beast" DVDs, while another package held 260 counterfeit "Aladdin" DVDs.
On Feb. 4, 2015, Customs and Border Protection agents intercepted a parcel heading to Clint Rodgers that had the 200 DVDs.
Undercover federal agents also purchased several counterfeit DVDs from the Rodgers' eBay account in February and March of 2015. According to court records, the Rodgers portrayed the DVDs as if they were authentic Disney products.
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Then, on Aug. 25, 2015, HSI agents executed a search warrant at the couple's residence and found several counterfeit items, including Disney DVDs. Tabitha Rodgers admitted to handling day-to-day operations of the eBay account, while Clint Rodgers recruited third parties to get the DVDs.
Court records state that the majority, if not all, of the couple's income came from the DVD business. Beachbody and Otter Products had sent cease and desist orders from selling counterfeit products, but the Rodgers ignored them.
Rodgers also was illegally receiving SNAP benefits despite the sizeable income the couple had coming in.
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