The internet has made commerce more accessible to everyone, and just about anything can be bought, but buyer beware because not everything is as it is labeled.
A Johnson City woman was arrested this week on two counts of unlawfully using a company’s logo on merchandise worth more than $250,000 and selling counterfeit restaurant vouchers and coupons , also worth over $250,000.
Stacy Anne Cappleman, 32, 102 W. Chestnut St., was charged by presentation earlier this month with one count of felony simulation over $250,000 and one count of use of a trademark or a counterfeit logo over $250,000.
Tennessee Code Annotated Definitions:
- (a) (1) A person commits the offense of mock crime who, with intent to defraud or harm another person:
- (A) makes or modifies an object, in whole or in part, so that it appears to have value by reason of age, antiquity, rarity, source, or authorship that it does not has not;
- (B) Possess an object so made or altered, with intent to sell, pass, or otherwise pronounce it; Where
- (C) Authenticates or certifies an object so made or modified as authentic or different from what it is.
- (2) A person commits the offense of mock crime who, knowing his nature, possesses:
- (A) Any machinery, plate or other device designed to produce instruments marked as credit or debit cards of an issuer who has not consented to the preparation of the cards; Where
- (B) Any instrument, device or device designed, adapted or used to commit theft of goods or services by fraudulent means.
Use of a counterfeit trademark or logo.
- (a) As used in this section:
- (1) Counterfeit Mark means:
- (A) Any knowingly unauthorized reproduction or copying of the Intellectual Property; Where
- (B) Intellectual property affixed to any item knowingly sold, offered for sale, manufactured or distributed, or identifying services offered or rendered, without the permission 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 any person to identify that person’s goods or services, and any rights protected by title 47, chapter 25, part 11; and
- (3) Retail value means the infringer’s regular selling price for the item or service bearing or identified by the counterfeit mark. In the case of counterfeit branded items that are components of a finished product, the retail value will be the infringer’s regular selling price of the finished product on or in which the component would be used.
- (b) (1) It is an offense for a person to knowingly manufacture any item or service 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 intent to sell or distribute any item or service knowing that the item or service bears or is identified by a counterfeit trademark.
- © In determining whether a person who possesses an item bearing or identified by an infringing trademark possesses the item with intent to sell or distribute it in violation of subsection (b)(2), the trier of fact may infer from 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 provide specific details about the presentation at this time, but confirmed that his office had received information that Cappleman may be selling counterfeit items and food stamps.
“Our office started the investigation and the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation helped with the search warrant,” Baldwin said.
At Cappelman’s home, investigators found merchandise worth more than $250,000 and food stamps worth more than $250,000 that she was accused of selling over the internet.
It took several months for investigators to confirm that the food stamps were not valid.
According to the indictment, Cappleman forged restaurant coupons, food stamps, meal cards, discount coupons, labels, beverage containers, mugs, cups, bottles, lids of cups, tumblers, cosmetics, purses, purses and accessories. All of these items were confiscated from his home.
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 Johnson City fire station – 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 $50,000 bond after his arrest. His first appearance in Washington County Criminal Court has been set for March 1.