The internet has made commerce more accessible to everyone, and just about everything can be purchased, but buyer beware because not everything is as it’s labeled.
A Johnson City woman was arrested this week on two counts of illegal use of a company logo on merchandise worth more than $250,000 and selling counterfeit restaurant vouchers and coupons, also valued at more than $250,000
Stacy Anne Cappleman, 32, 102 W. Chestnut St., was indicted by presentment earlier this month on one count of criminal simulation over $250,000 and one count of use of a counterfeit mark or logo over $250,000.
Tennessee Code Annotated definitions:
- (a) (1) A person commits the offense of criminal simulation who, with intent to defraud or harm another:
- (A) Makes or alters an object, in whole or in part, so that it appears to have value because of age, antiquity, rarity, source or authorship that it does not have;
- (B) Possesses an object so made or altered, with intent to sell, pass or otherwise utter it; or
- (C) Authenticates or certifies an object so made or altered as genuine or as different from what it is.
- (2) A person commits the offense of criminal simulation who, with knowledge of its character, possesses:
- (A) Any machinery, plates or other contrivances designed to produce instruments reporting to be credit or debit cards of an issuer who had not consented to the preparation of the cards; or
- (B) Any instrument, apparatus or contrivance designed, adapted or used for commission of any theft of property or services by fraudulent means.
Use of a counterfeit mark or logo.
- (a) As used in this section:
- (1) Counterfeit mark means:
- (A) Any knowingly unauthorized reproduction or copy of intellectual property; or
- (B) Intellectual property affixed to any item knowingly sold, offered for sale, manufactured, or distributed, or identifying services offered or rendered, without the authority of the owner of the intellectual property;
- (2) Intellectual property means any trademark, service mark, trade name, label, term, device, design or word adopted or used by a person to identify that person’s goods or services, and all rights protected by title 47, chapter 25, part 11; and
- (3) Retail value means the counterfeiter’s regular selling price for the item or service bearing or identified by the counterfeit mark. In the case of items bearing a counterfeit mark which are components of a finished product, the retail value shall be the counterfeiter’s regular selling price of the finished product on or in which the component would be utilized.
- (b) (1) It is an offense for a person to knowingly manufacture any item or services bearing or identified by a counterfeit mark.
- (2) It is an offense for a person to use, display, advertise, distribute, offer for sale, sell, or possess with the intent to sell or distribute any item or service knowing the item or service bears or is identified by a counterfeit mark.
- © In determining whether a person who possesses an item bearing or identified by a counterfeit mark possesses the item with the intent to sell or distribute it in violation of subdivision (b)(2), the trier of fact may infer from the possession, custody or control of more than twenty-five (25) items bearing a counterfeit mark that the person possesses the items with the intent to sell or distribute them.
Cappleman’s alleged crimes
District Attorney General Ken Baldwin said he could not give specific details about the presentment at this time, but confirmed his office received information that Cappleman was possibly selling counterfeit items and food coupons.
“Our office started the investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation assisted with the search warrant,” Baldwin said.
In Cappelman’s home, investigators found merchandise worth over $250,000 and food coupons worth more than $250,000 that she was accused of selling on the internet.
It took investigators several months to confirm the food coupons were invalid.
According to the indictment, Cappleman had counterfeit restaurant coupons, food vouchers, meal cards, discount coupons, labeling, beverage containers, cups, mugs, bottles, beverage cup lids, tumblers, cosmetic products, purses, handbags and accessories. All those items were confiscated from her home.
The victims in the indictment against Cappleman included:
Yeti Coolers, Estee Lauder, Kate Spade, Kylie Cosmetics, Helen of Troy Limited, The Balm Cosmetics, Hughes Lip Cosmetics, Bob Evans, Zaxby’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut, Arby’s, Darden Restaurants, Applebees’s, Red Lobster, Taco Bell, McDonald’s, Burger King, Firehouse Restaurant Group — the sandwich shop, not the local Firehouse in Johnson City — Jack in the Box, Cafe Rio Mexican Grill, Miller’s Ale House, The Habit Restaurants, UTZ Quality Foods, CiCi Enterprises, QDOBA Restaurant Corp., Wendy’s, Subway, Bojangles, Domino’s Pizza, Jersey Mike’s, The Panda Restaurant Group, Sonic and Hardees.
Cappleman posted a $50,000 bond after her arrest. Her first court date in Washington County Criminal Court was set for March 1.