Duluth retailer sentenced for selling counterfeit goodsA former Duluth clothier who sold counterfeit designer clothing was sentenced Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court to two years probation and ordered to perform five days of community service.
A former Duluth clothier who sold counterfeit designer clothing was sentenced Tuesday in St. Louis County District Court to two years probation and ordered to perform five days of community service.
Christopher Giddens, 30, pleaded guilty in July to a felony charge of offering counterfeit intellectual property for sale. He admitted to Judge Sally Tarnowski that he should have known the merchandise he sold from Christopher’s Clothing Store was not authentic, based on the prices at which he was able to purchase it.
Giddens and Nicholas F. Campanella were co-owners of the clothing store at 305 W. Superior St. Campanella said they were paying about $2,000 a month in rent and without their supply of merchandise they had to declare bankruptcy.
Campanella, 30, is also charged with counterfeiting intellectual property. He has pleaded not guilty and an Oct. 5 trial has been scheduled.
Investigators found 281 items of counterfeit property valued at about $16,000 in the store. Campanella told officers he ordered most of the merchandise from websites. He said some of the jeans were valued at $190, but he would pay only $15 and sell them for $50.
Giddens and Campanella were among four men from three Duluth businesses charged in January with selling more than $100,000 in counterfeit goods ranging from sports jerseys to supposed designer handbags and clothes. The charges were brought after Duluth police and the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents conducted a sting of the businesses in October.
Two other business owners were charged in the sting. Willie Love, 66, owner of New U Clothing store on the ground floor of 207 E. Superior St., is accused of selling counterfeit handbags and clothing with the brand names of Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Prada for $50 to $60 when the genuine items sell for $400. His case has not been resolved.
Frederick A. Degerstrom, 33, former owner-proprietor of Fred and Mark’s Sports in the Miller Hill Mall when charged, pleaded guilty in May to counterfeiting intellectual property. According to the criminal complaint against him, Degerstrom said he purchased jerseys for $50 to $75 each and sold them for $95 to $110. The complaint alleges that he acknowledged that almost everything in his store was counterfeit.