Local News

Man pleads guilty to selling knock-off golf gear

Posted April 20, 2009 3:34 p.m. EDT
Updated April 21, 2009 12:10 p.m. EDT

— A former Moore County resident has been placed on probation after pleading guilty to selling counterfeit golf equipment, authorities said Monday.

Warren Fondrie, of Swansboro, pleaded guilty to 12 counts of criminal use of a counterfeit trademark. Superior Court Judge William Wood Jr. sentenced him to 60 to 80 months in prison, which was suspended. Wood also ordered Fondrie to pay $253,338 in restitution and to surrender his passport.

Investigators with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office charged Fondrie, his father, Donald Fondrie, and Pei-I Chou, a Taiwanese national, in December 2007 after a two-month investigation into a Web site that was selling fake brand-name golfing gear.

The operation imported counterfeits of brand-name gear, including ball markers and golf grips from Asia, and then sold them to domestic and international customers on a “store site” on eBay under the brand names Titleist and Golf Pride.

Donald Fondrie is scheduled to go to trial in Moore County on May 11. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents arrested Chou last week in Moore County and will remain in federal custody until her next court appearance, also on May 11.