Chicopee Man Charged with Selling Fake Sports Items to Enter Guilty Plea

(Jim Dent - ABC40 File Photo)

(Jim Dent – ABC40 File Photo)

BOSTON, Mass. (WGGB) – A Chicopee man who ran several local sports shops and is now facing federal charges of allegedly selling counterfeit sports merchandise has agreed to plead guilty, according to court records.

51-year-old James Dent has been charged with trafficking in counterfeit goods.

The agreement, which was submitted to U.S. District Court in Springfield, was signed by Deputy Chief of the U.S. Department of Justice Criminal Division James Herbert, Dent, and Dent’s attorney, John Pucci.

Prosecutors allege that Dent sold counterfeit sports apparel between 2007 and 2012 from the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Basketball Association at stores he owned in central and western Massachusetts.

Among the store in western Mass. included SportsZone at the Holyoke Mall, and Collectibles and Cards at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Hampshire Mall in Hadley and the Berkshire Mall in Lanesborough.

Federal agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement conducted raids and executed search warrants on Dent’s stores in what the agency called “an ongoing investigation regarding intellectual property theft.”

In the agreement, Dent and his lawyer have agreed to terms where Dent will waive indictment and plead guilty to the charges.

The document states, “Defendant expressly and unequivocally admits that he committed the crimes charged in the information, did so knowingly and intentionally, and is in fact guilty of these offenses.”

The U.S. Attorney’s Office alleges in court papers that Dent purchased the counterfeit apparel from companies in China and that he “mixed counterfeit and genuine apparel together in his store, and sold the items for substantially the same price, in an attempt to deceive the customers into believing that the counterfeit apparel was genuine.”

Just a month before, during a story on Super Bowl merchandise, Dent told ABC40 that it would be hard for customers to tell the difference between real and fake merchandise and that cheaper merchandise would typically cost more than the real products.

The sentencing recommendation that all parties agreed to includes some jail time at or below sentencing guidelines, a $6,000 fine, $37,475.21 in restitution, “a forfeiture or money judgement…of $200,000″ and 36 months of supervised release.

The International Anti-Counterfeiting Coalition says that counterfeit merchandise costs companies $500 billion each year.

The plea agreement is subject to approval by the court and Judge Michael Ponsor. A plea hearing is scheduled for May 8.

  • Misses_ES

    Brian, I half agree with you. If he didn’t already admit to “knowingly and intentionally” deceiving his customers, you’d have a valid point. But apparently he WAS the one doing the “shafting”.

  • bagpip

    He lives in Holyoke on Portland st, and has rental property in Chicopee. See “Dent” at Whitepages.com He lived there in Holyoke for 20 years.

    • bagpip

      He also owns property on River Rd in South Hadley. His “retirement property”.

    • bagpip

      The Mary Dent listed on Portland st is his wife.

  • petemoe

    what does mary have to do with this or the properties they own? looks like your doing pointless research bagpip and your looking at old records

    • bagpip

      Well “Pete” or Henry, he’s going to pay over $200,000 in fines, so he can kiss those properties goodbye. I also don’t like seeing a misleading headline when the man has lived on Portland st in HOLYOKE not Chicopee, for 20 years.

  • bagpip

    Oh and Petemoe, this guy has been a dishonest crook since he started in the carpet business, then as his carpet business died from poor workmanship he moved on to other ways of stealing. He was quite a pot dealer in his younger days, robbing his customers with sand and metal shavings added to make bags weigh. He’s been a thief since day one, and is getting his payback now.

  • petemoe

    so does that mean your a drug user or use to be? exactly why your information is not creditable

    • bagpip

      Boy you are an idiot, aren’t you? Because someone smoked pot in their teens, their opinion is useless? You have to be his son or brother, because you take the side of an admitted and convicted thief, con-man, and former drug DEALER over a customer? So he’s a good guy because he sold drugs, and I’m useless because I bought pot from the guy?
      Better get to bed sonny, your mom Mary might catch you.

  • petemoe

    no one said what he did was right at all your just assuming and making your case worse no relation to the man or family just seen the store at the hadley mall

    • bagpip

      You would have to be related to him to defend a crook. He cheated his way thru life, and just by seeing his store in Hadley, you know he’s a great guy you will stand up for. Pretty stupid thing to say. You obviously know him, or are related.