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2 arrested in $2M counterfeit Disney merchandise operation

Two men have been arrested for an alleged counterfeit collectable Disney merchandise operation totaling $2 million.

May 12, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Two men have been arrested for allegedly importing $2 million in counterfeit collectable Disney pins and selling them over the internet.

Anaheim police, with the assistance from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, arrested 52-year-old Robert Edward Smyrak and 57-year-old Larry James on April 14.

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. At the time of his arrest, Smyrak is accused of being in possession of more than 100,000 counterfeit pins.

The alleged operation was discovered in February when ICE agents intercepted a parcel at Los Angeles International Airport addressed to Smyrak containing more than 150 pounds of counterfeit Disney pins.

"American businesses and American brands are under assault from counterfeiters," said Claude Arnold, special agent for ICE in Los Angeles. "The only ones who benefit from schemes like this are the counterfeiters and they're getting rich at America's expense."

Smyrak 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.

Allred is charged with one felony count of manufacturing and sale of counterfeit mark, as well as sentencing enhancements for two prior strike convictions. Based on his prior strike convictions, Allred faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted.

Both are scheduled to be arraigned Friday in Fullerton.

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