Jury convicts retail clothing store owner of selling counterfeit merchandise


SHREVPORT, La. - Dwight Anthony Reed, 51, the owner of a retail store formerly located in the Pierre Bossier Mall in Bossier City, La., was convicted by a federal jury on May 27 on 19 counts of trafficking in counterfeit goods, following a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) led investigation.

According to court testimony, in May 2005, ICE agents and Bossier City Police officers seized more than 380 counterfeit trademarked items from Reed's retail clothing store "Rockafellas." The seizure included shoes, clothing and accessories displaying registered trademarked names and symbols associated with Louis Vuitton, Coach, Gucci, Lacoste, Ecko, Phat Farm, Baby Phat, Nike, NCAA, NBA, NFL and Roca Wear.

In January and February 2006, agents seized another 293 suspected counterfeit items, including 43 pairs of counterfeit Nike shoes at the same store. In July 2006, a seizure was also made at Reed's "Rockafellas" stores at malls in Longview and Texarkana, Texas. More than 1,000 counterfeit trademarked items were presented at trial.

After the jury's verdict, U. S. District Judge S. Maurice Hicks, Jr., revoked Reed's bond and ordered that he be detained pending sentencing, which is set for Aug. 26. Reed faces a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, a $2 million fine or both, for each count of trafficking in counterfeit goods.

"The creation, smuggling and sale of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime," said Raymond R. Parmer, Jr., special agent in charge of ICE's Office of Investigations in New Orleans. "Products that are produced illegally do harm to trademark holders, may be smuggled into the country and distributed by organized crime groups and sold to the detriment of local businesses and communities who derive no financial gain from the illegal sales. ICE is committed to an aggressive approach towards enforcing the nation's intellectual property rights laws."

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert W. Gillespie, Jr.

Source: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement