Feds stormed North Charleston store, seized fake sports jerseys | News

  Feds stormed North Charleston store, seized fake sports jerseys |  News

A variety of jerseys seized from the business were determined to be phony, records show. 

Lanard “Larry” Smith, the owner of the business, said in an interview on Jan. 12 he did not know the sports jerseys were counterfeit.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Derek Shoemake said he could not comment, saying only, “The filings speak for themselves.” 

Story Highlights

  • Homeland Security Investigations’ Charleston office executed a federal search warrant on Dec. 14 at Game Over Sports as part of an investigation into allegations the store’s owner was selling counterfeit sports jerseys, according to federal records filed on Jan. 10 in U.S. District Court. 

  • Criminal charges have not been filed.

“The person that I was ordering stuff from, they said everything was legit. I had no clue until they came into the store,” Smith said. 

Smith and his brother, Raynard Smith, were previously convicted of trafficking in counterfeit apparel in 2008. Both men were sentenced to three years probation. 

An operator at Northwoods Mall said Game Over Sports closed on Dec. 16.

The S.C. Secretary of State’s Office first alerted HSI in August that the business was suspected of selling counterfeit goods, according to an application for a federal warrant to seize property.  A federal cargo tracking database showed that four dozen shipments of clothing arrived at the business earlier in the year. The cargo came from countries such as Japan, Malaysia, China and Hong Kong. 

Similar international cargo addressed to Raynard Smith and another man was also shipped to a Summerville apartment from June 2019 until May, records state.  At least seven of the international shippers were associated with intellectual property rights violations, according to the records.

An investigator with a private company that specializes in intellectual property rights inspected the basketball jersey, purchased for $150, and determined it was a knock-off, records state. Investigators determined other jerseys seized in the Dec. 14 raid were also counterfeit, according to records. 

An employee of the Secretary of State’s Office purchased suspected counterfeit apparel, including a Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers basketball jersey purported to be made by Nike, from the store on Sept. 28.