Don’t mess with Apple Inc., maker of the iPhone, iPad and other top-selling tech devices. A Lafayette man, 37-year-old Brennan LeBlanc, faces up to 10 years behind bars and a $2 million fine after pleading guilty in federal court to selling counterfeit Apple products through a website and south Lafayette store front.
The case goes back to 2012 when the California-based company spotted on the website for iPhoneLafayette.com what it suspected were fake versions of its products as well as other products manufactured to complement Apple merchandise. Apple dispatched a private investigator to the Hub City accompanied by undercover Department of Homeland Security agents.
In May 2012 the agents and PI, a tech industry rep who specializes in ferreting out counterfeit merchandise, made a handful of purchases of such products as iPhone covers and sleeves sold under the brand names Louis Vuitton, Coach, Otter Box and Apple at iPhoneLafayette.com located on Kaliste Saloom Road. The products, according to U.S. Attorney Stephanie Finley, were determined to be counterfeit. An undercover Louisiana State Police trooper returned to the store in January of this year and made additional purchases. Those products were also judged to be fake.
After determining the products were counterfeit, the trooper approached the store’s owner, 37-year-old Brennan LeBlanc, who, according to Finely, admitted the products were fake. Homeland Security was called back into the store and recovered dozens more counterfeit products.
A sentencing date for LeBlanc has not been set.