|For Immediate Release
May 12, 2011
|Susan Kang Schroeder
Chief of Staff
TWO MEN TO APPEAR IN COURT FOR ILLEGALLY IMPORTING $2 MILLION IN COUNTERFEIT DISNEY PINS FROM CHINA TO SELL OVER THE INTERNET
FULLERTON – Two defendants will be in court tomorrow for illegally importing $2 million in counterfeit collectable Disney pins from China and selling them over the Internet. Robert Edward Smyrak, 52, Anaheim, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing and sale of counterfeit mark and faces a maximum sentence of three years in state prison if convicted. Smyrak is out of custody on $50,000 bail and is scheduled to be arraigned tomorrow, Friday, May 13, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3, North Justice Center, Fullerton.
Co-defendant Larry James Allred, 57, Walnut, is charged with one felony count of manufacturing and sale of counterfeit mark and sentencing enhancements for two prior strike convictions for rape in 1975 and kidnapping in 1978. Based on his two prior strike convictions, Allred faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted. Allred is out of custody on his own recognizance and is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing tomorrow, Friday, May 13, 2011, at 8:30 a.m. in Department N-3.
Smyrak is accused of masterminding a fraudulent operation and selling counterfeit Disney pins over the Internet while passing them off as collectibles. Allred is accused of working with Smyrak and assisting in the scheme. The defendants are accused of sending legitimate collectible pins to a manufacturer in China to be replicated and having the fake pins shipped back to them. During the course of the scheme, Smyrak and Allred are accused of receiving approximately 80 shipments of counterfeit pins from China with an approximately value of $2 million.
The fraudulent operation was discovered in February 2011 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers and import specialists intercepted a parcel at Los Angeles International Airport addressed to Smyrak containing more than 150 pounds of counterfeit Disney pins.
Smyrak and Allred were arrested April 14, 2011, by the Anaheim Police Department (APD). At the time of his arrest, Smyrak is accused of being in possession of more than 100,000 counterfeit pins. Defendant Cynthia Lynn Pratt Vedder, 43, Smyrak’s former girlfriend, was also arrested at that time and charged with one felony count of manufacturing and sale of counterfeit mark (Case # 11NF1478) for independently engaging in the same type of scheme.
This case was investigated by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE HSI) and APD.
“American businesses and American brands are under assault from counterfeiters,” said Claude Arnold, special agent in charge for ICE HSI in Los Angeles. “The sale of counterfeit products robs Americans of jobs, stifles American innovation, promotes crime and introduces substandard and sometimes harmful products into commerce. The only ones who benefit from schemes like this are the counterfeiters and they’re getting rich at America’s expense.”