Local musicians sentenced for selling 165 counterfeit guitars to finance tour | Dallas Morning News
http://youtu.be/dI44emD1SrA Over the last few months four Texans, three of them locals, pleaded guilty in Pennsylvania federal court to selling counterfeit guitars. Today, the last of them — 27-year-old Randy Gray of Fort Worth — was sentenced. He’ll be spending one day in jail and another three years on supervised released, and have to pay back $7,617.
His was among the lighter sentences.
Gray’s co-defendants — former Vibrolux and Eleven Hundred Springs drummer Bruce Alford and Romeo Rondeau (both of Fort Worth) and Galveston’s Josh Davis, the band’s namesake and a former Dallas resident — have also been sentenced to pay back thousands in restitution, with Davis’ $22,047.60 bill at the top of the pops. He and Rondeau were also sentenced to serve six months of home confinement, while all three will have to spend three years on supervised release.
A sheet of phony labels used to turn generic guitars into expensive ones
According to court documents, the foursome — at one point known as the Josh Davis Band — spent close to four years, from January 2008 until October 2011, buying generic guitars and slapping on them labels that said “C.F. Martin and Company Guitars,” “Guild Guitars Incorporated” and “Gibson Guitar Corporation.” The U.S. Attorney’s Office says that’s the band in the video above buying some of the “cheap, unbranded” guitars they’d eventually relabel and resell.
Prosecutors say the markings were so spot-on they turned the generic instruments into valuable ones, at least at first glance. The foursome then took the guitars — 165 in all, most phony Martins — to “unsuspecting pawn shops,” says the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The men eventually pocketed around $56,000, and used the proceeds “to finance the band’s travels.”
But some of the pawn shops, most of them in Texas but also in California and Florida and Alabama, began complaining, and the FBI eventually got involved. Martin Guitars, headquartered in Pennsylvania, said in a letter to a federal judge last June that “every counterfeit acoustic guitar represents a lost sale affecting everything from wages to benefits to job security.”