JEFFERSON CITY - A Columbia couple pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to smuggling counterfeit Disney DVD's and selling them on eBay.
Tabitha Nicole Rodgers, 42, pleaded guilty to one felony count of criminal copyright infringement for profit. Her husband, Clint Travis Rodgers, 48, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal infringement of a copyright.
Tabitha Rodgers is subject to up to five years in federal prison without parole. She also has to pay a monetary amount that represents her share of the proceeds from the criminal activity, which will be determined at her sentencing date. Clint Rodgers is subject to up to one year in federal prison without parole.
In July of 2014, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) received information from the National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center saying Clint Rodgers received more than 443 shipments of counterfeit DVDs from companies in Hong Kong, according to a news release.
HSI seized two shipments before they were delivered to the Rodgers’ home, according to the release. One shipment had 200 counterfeit “Beauty and the Beast” DVDs. The second shipment contained 260 counterfeit “Aladdin” DVDs.
Customs and Border Protection agents seized another 200 counterfeit Disney DVDs addressed to Clint Rodgers on Feb. 4, 2015.
According to the plea agreement, undercover federal agents purchased several counterfeit Disney DVDs from the Rodgers on eBay in February and March of 2015. The Rodgers said the DVDs were genuine and authentic.
The agents also contacted two people who helped the Rodgers sell the DVDs. They said they knew customers complained about them, some saying they didn't work.
HSI agents executed a search warrant on Aug. 25, 2015 at the Rodgers' home. The agents seized many counterfeit goods, including counterfeit Disney DVDs.
Tabitha Rodgers admitted that she conducted the business's operation, the news release said. She said she placed the orders for the DVDs via email. She said she also packaged and mailed the DVDs, as well as processed customer complaints when DVDs were inoperable.