COLUMBIA, South Carolina ----- United States Attorney J. STROM THURMOND, JR. stated today that Mark Dipadova, age 36, of California, was sentenced on Friday, December 14, 2001, in federal court in Columbia, South Carolina, for trafficking in counterfeit luxury items such as Rolex and Cartier watches, a violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2320. Dipadova was sentenced by Senior United States District Judge Matthew J. Perry to 24 months in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release. In addition, Dipadova was ordered to pay a total of $138,264.85 in restitution to the owners of the trademarks that he infringed to offset the expenses they incurred in attempting to investigate and stop Dipadova’s illegal activity. Mark Dipadova, who also goes by Mark Voiers, James English, and Jack Norris; and Teresa Ford, a codefendant in the case who will be sentenced later, operated an Internet based business from the Lancaster, South Carolina, area. They operated as www.fakegifts.com as well as under other names. During this operation, they utilized at least two commercial shipping services, shipping over 10,000 packages to domestic and foreign destinations, despite having been sued in federal court for their activities. The defendants acknowledged that they wrapped watches destined for foreign countries in aluminum foil and hid them inside “pop-lights” . translucent battery powered lights that are approximately six inches in diameter . to prevent their detection. In the course of a two day sentencing hearing, Dipadova admitted that he had placed a link on the Fakegifts website to a recording of a radio interview during which he stated that he was aware he was violating the trademarks of companies but that he was making so much money, he refused to stop.
Following the sentencing hearing, Judge Perry ordered that Dipadova be immediately taken into custody. The government had argued that Dipadova was a risk of flight, in part because of the multiple identities that Dipadova admitted to possessing.
The case was investigated by agents of the United States customs Service. Assistant United States Attorney Dean A. Eichelberger of the Columbia office handled the case.
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