Cape man charged with selling counterfeit items
A Cape Coral man is accused of selling counterfeit items that reportedly would have defrauded the real manufacturers out of up to $1 million.
James Michael Lynch, 38, of 1305 N.E. Third Terrace, was arrested and charged Thursday with counterfeiting counterfeit value $20,000 or more. He had been released from the Lee County Jail on $5,000 bond as of Tuesday.
According to an arrest report, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office was contacted in May by an investigator who looks into possible counterfeit items. He represents victims, such as Rolex and other name brands.
The investigator reported that counterfeit watches were being sold in the Cape on Craigslist. The ad said the items, priced from $125 to $150, are the “best imitations,” and that they have the same markings as the real ones.
On Thursday, LCSO detectives called the alleged seller, later identified as Lynch, and set up a time and place to buy some counterfeit watches.
At the meeting, Lynch assured the undercover officer that the watches were imitations and offered a warranty on the faux gold exterior finish. The detective paid $650 total for three Rolexes, one Breitling and one Omega.
Authorities followed Lynch back to his residence and detained him.
Lynch consented to a search of his car and home, the report states.
Detectives located 65 watches in the truck of the vehicle, along with 29 pairs of Oakley sunglasses, seven pieces of Tiffany jewelry, 13 Louie Vuitton items, one Fendi purse, one Coach purse and Beats by Dr. Dre headphones.
Inside of the residence, officers additionally seized 46 pairs of Beats headphones, 21 Microsoft Office programs, 15 Rolex boxes and 36 Tiffany gift bags, boxes and polish cloths. The items were shipped from China.
The retail value of the counterfeit items defrauded the real name brand manufacturers out of between $750,000 to $1 million, officials said.
Lynch was taken into custody and transported to the county jail.
He could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Assistant public defender Erin Casey is representing Lynch.
Casey declined to comment Tuesday on the allegations.
Lynch has a court appearance scheduled for July 2.