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FAKE SPORTS MERCHANDISE WARNING NEWS RELEASE

Abdul Wali.jpg
Jun Lee.jpg
Usman Tassadiq.jpg
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Harris County District Attorney

KIM K. OGG

FANS WARNED TO AVOID COUNERFEIT SPORTS GEAR

It remains to be seen who will win Super Bowl LI, but you can protect yourself from losing when it comes to fraudulent fan gear.

Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg is reminding the public to be wary of scams aimed at the public swept up in the excitement of the big game between the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons.

“If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is,” Ogg said of especially inexpensive sports merchandise. “Be wise and be aware.”

Ogg is also warning those who make or sell fraudulent items that they risk being prosecuted, fined and sent to prison.

Prosecutors are on alert and already assisting law-enforcement agencies stinging trademark counterfeiters.

The Consumer Fraud Division has in recent days charged four defendants with trademark counterfeiting.

“Knock offs are against the law,” Ogg said. “We will protect intellectual property as we do personal property.”

Bogus merchandise can also be of inferior quality and fall apart quickly.

Super Bowl T-shirts, lanyards, bracelets and decals are among the counterfeit items seized so far.

Usman Tassadiq, Abdul Bais Wali and Waqas Waqas, all of Houston, were arrested by the Houston Police Department and charged with the felony crime of trademark counterfeiting.

They are accused of attempting to sell counterfeit Houston Texans T-shirts from a shop on Bellaire. They face of up to two years in State Jail and fine of up to a $10,000.

Jun Sung Lee, of Katy, was also arrested by the Houston Police Department.

He is charged with trademark counterfeiting over a variety of items, including Super Bowl gear, at a shop on Harwin Drive. He faces up to ten years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Tips to avoid fake merchandise include:
1. Buy from known and established retail stores.
2. Examine merchandise for quality, loose stitching and off-center logos that can indicators of a counterfeit.
3. Look for NFL hologram stickers; make sure holograms move in the light and from different angles.