Reportedly ran websites selling fake Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch, Oakley and TV network merchandise
In the first of its kind prosecution in Western New York, U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul, Jr., announced on Thursday (7/21) that Ryan Breen, age 31, of Savannah, New York, was charged by Criminal Complaint with using the internet to traffic in counterfeit goods. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $2,000,000 fine.
In related actions, federal agents executed seizure warrants upon a total of twenty websites that sold counterfeit merchandise, including five warrants in Western New York. The seizure warrants effectively prevent the sites from continuing to offer counterfeit merchandise bearing brand names such as Ralph Lauren, Tory Burch and Oakley.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Fauzia K. Mattingly, who is handling the case, stated that according to the Complaint, Breen was identified as the owner and operator of a website that sold unauthorized apparel from the F/X Network Television series “Sons of Anarchy.” The website offered counterfeit t-shirts for sale using the Sons of Anarchy trademark brand without the permission of the Fox Broadcasting Company. The seizure of Breen’s website, and approximately 19 other websites selling counterfeit merchandise, is part of a nationwide effort to combat counterfeiting in order to keep these fake goods off the U.S. streets. It also represents the first time this type of law enforcement action has been undertaken in Western New York.
“Legitimate creators, performers and crafts people who grow and support the economy through their hard work and talents must have their intellectual property protected,” said U.S. Attorney Hochul. “In today’s age, the theft of another’s property, to include one’s ideas, is just as likely to occur over the internet as it is on the streets of a community. By using Court-ordered warrants to “seize” a particular website or domain, our Office is using 21st century techniques to combat criminals operating in the virtual world.”
“Today’s arrest is another step forward in our efforts to disrupt the ability of criminals to purvey counterfeit goods and copyrighted materials illegally over the Internet,” said Lev J. Kubiak, Special Agent in Charge of ICE’s Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Buffalo. “American business is threatened by those who produce counterfeit trademarked goods and pirate copyrighted materials. From counterfeit pharmaceuticals and electronics to pirated movies, music, and software, IP thieves undermine the U.S. economy and jeopardize public safety.”
Breen appeared before Federal Magistrate Judge Leslie G. Foschio this afternoon. He was released on his own recognizance. Breen is due back in court on Monday, August 1st.
The arrest is the result of an investigation by Special Agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations, under the direction of Special Agent-in-Charge Lev Kubiak.