Up to 190 Years In Prison for Counterfeit Sports Jerseys

The Feds are not messing around.


On Thursday, the United States Attorney in Philadelphia filed an indictment (below) charging a father and his son with illegally importing counterfeit sports jerseys from China and selling them in the United States.

62-year-old Neil Robinson of Bensalem and his 30-year-old son Shawn Robinson, who lives near Harrisburg, allegedly bought more than 8,500 counterfeit baseball, football, hockey and basketball jerseys from China between September 2007 and July 2014, providing photographs of licensed jerseys to their Chinese manufacturers to ensure that the bogus goods looked legit.

And, according to the indictment, they continued to do it even after some red flags appeared, according to the indictment in the case. In December 2007, the son had a package sealed by U.S. Customs, and in 2008, his eBay account was suspended. And according to the 2011 email sent by the father to a customer, they were busted in 2011. "The Feds came in about 2 months ago and confiscated everyone's jerseys," he wrote. "We still sell. Just not visibly."

They are also said to have made specific requests of their manufacturers in China, based on trends in the market.

From July 2010 emails allegedly sent by the father: "New player to be announced shortly. Roy Oswalt being traded from Houston Astros to Phillies. Will send you his number when it is announced. Also Phillies new player Dominic Brown #9 was a hit.

And from a December 2010 email from the son's account regarding Phillies pitcher Cliff Lee: "It official Lee is wearing #33... how fast do you [sic] they can make them. I would start with the white pinstripe 1st."

And they didn't want anything shoddy. "Make sure the factory takes their time though," the son wrote. "People are starting to complain about some of the quality of the jerseys. Some crooked letters/numbers and buttons are coming off. I understand things happen but just wanted to let u know. Thanks buddy."

Both men were charged with conspiracy to traffic in and illegally import counterfeit sports jerseys and trafficking in counterfeit goods, and the father was also charged with smuggling. He faces up to 175 years in prison and a fine of up to $15.5 million, while his son could get as much as 15 years.

The indictment:

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  • John E. Zang

    Does this have any relation to that Chinese site selling jerseys like this? Forget the name. They changed the name of the site to something like “Bob jersey” or something else Engrishy like that. I think the punishment is a bit steep. The government always goes to bat for corporations and millionaires but crushes the little guy.

  • James

    It’s great that in the other news articles listed after this on Phillymag it shows a sex trafficker gets only 22yrs in prison. Way to go US justice system. Force people into being a sex slave only get 22yrs, mess with counterfeit jerseys and you have 175yrs in prison. Really? Why do we all put up with this charade of a government and justic system anymore. “When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty” – Thomas Jefferson