3 admit selling
fake Pro Bowl gear

The defendants did not realize it was
a serious offense, their attorney says

Three people have admitted to selling counterfeit Pro Bowl items during the National Football League's all-star game Feb. 13.

Glenn Marziotto, 47, of Florida, and Melissa Lieberman and Brendan Alan Schiff, 36, both of California, entered guilty pleas Tuesday before Circuit Judge Dexter Del Rosario to one count each of trademark counterfeiting.

They face a maximum of five years in prison and a fine of $10,000 when sentenced March 1. However, all three will be asking the court to defer their pleas, enabling them to eventually erase the matter from their records.

According to Deputy Prosecutor Chris Van Marter, the three offered for sale items bearing counterfeit marks and knew the marks were counterfeit.

All three defendants were issued trademark counterfeit warnings last year and were arrested when they returned to Aloha Stadium again this year.

Prosecuting trademark violators is important because it not only protects the consumer from the sale of counterfeit merchandise, but also protects the reputable quality of the mark that ensures that trademark is used for legitimate and intended purposes, Van Marter said.

At the Pro Bowl this year, undercover police spotted more than a dozen people selling counterfeit Pro Bowl shirts and confiscated about 200 shirts that were selling for $10 apiece. NFL-licensed gear usually goes for $15 to $20.

Attorney Guy Matsunaga, who advised his clients to plead no contest, said they pleaded guilty because they wanted to take full responsibility and are remorseful.

"They didn't realize that it was a serious crime, and now they do," he said, noting that they will never do it again.

The three will remain free on bail pending their sentencing.

The NFL takes trademark counterfeiting seriously and hired private investigators to assist undercover police to canvass the Pro Bowl this year for violators. In the past, illegal vendors have been caught in Waikiki, Aloha Stadium and Kam swap meets.

About $3.4 million in fake merchandise was seized across the country by law enforcement during the NFL's 2004 regular season.

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