Men Sentenced for Fake Disney Pin Scheme

Rare editions of genuine Disney pins can go for more than $1,000 online

A twice-convicted rapist who illegally imported counterfeit Disney pins from China and sold them on the Internet was sentenced to eight years in prison this week and ordered to pay more than $200,000 in restitution, authorities said.

Larry James Allred, 58, was previously convicted of rape in 1975, and rape and kidnapping in 1978, according to a statement from the Orange County District Attorney's office. His co-defendant in the counterfeit pin case, Robert Edward Smyrak, 54, of Anaheim, was sentenced to one year in jail and three years of probation.

Each pleaded guilty to one felony count of trademark infringement. Allred also pleaded guilty to sentencing enhancements for property loss of more than $200,000.

Disney pins are extraordinarily popular among collectors, with some rare pins selling online for more than $1,000. The sometimes limited-edition pins often feature Disney characters or commemorate company anniversaries or special events.

However, a buying guide for Disney pins posted on Internet auction site notes that buyers must beware of counterfeit pins.

From January 2010 to April 2011, the pair sent actual, collectible Disney pins to a manufacturer in China. The manufacturer copied the pins and shipped the fakes to Allred and Smyrak, which the pair sold online, the statement said.

They sold more than a million pins in bulk for less than $1 a pin. The real pins go for about $7 to $15, the statement said.

Authorities uncovered the scheme in February 2011 when U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted a shipment at Los Angeles International Airport containing more than 150 pounds of fake Disney pins, the statement said.

Anaheim police arrested the two in April 2011.

"At the time of their arrest, Smyrak and Allred were in possession of more than 91,000 counterfeit pins," the district attorney's statement said.

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